BRIDGWATER’s run of four successive victories came to an abrupt end when they were well beaten by a relegation-threatened Chard side, writes Richard Walsh.
Albion, who were missing several injured players, kicked off and had the better of the opening exchanges.
On 10 minutes, however, the visitors had a taste of what was to come when a loose ball hacked upfield was seized upon by winger Ben Johnson, who made good ground before being tackled deep in Bridgwater territory.
Chard continued to press forward but it was Bridgwater who took the lead after quarter of an hour when Oscar Tregenna broke from defence and covered half the field before the ball eventually found Stuart Heal, who scored an unconverted try in the right hand corner.
Bridgwater continued to create pressure and were unlucky to have a try disallowed.
Against the run of play Chard took the lead when pacy winger Johnson raced down the left wing before scoring a try that Nannie Oesman converted to push the hosts in front.
Before the interval another clearance from the Chard defence found Johnson, who scored in the left-hand corner to make the score 12-5 at half time.
Chard extended their lead after five minutes of the second half when Raqib Siljeur on the right wing broke from defence to score a try in the right hand corner that was converted by Oesman.
The hosts were in full cry and, with 10 minutes go, Matt Tinley touched down for a try between the posts which Oesman converted.
Chard scored two further tries, the first on 36 minutes which gave Johnson his hat-trick, and the final one just before the whistle which was scored by Siljeur to make the final score a convincing 38 -5 to the hosts.
Albion: Sam Britton, Oscar Tregenna, Ollie Dunn (capt), Luke Plummer, Ryan Barnett, Stuart Heal, Tom Fournier. Matt Ransom, Harry Collins, Lewis Phillips, Etah Trebble-Westlake, Dan Kemmish, Shaun Mahoney, George Sluman and Micky Norman.
Replacements: Ali Blundell, Jordan Buller and Adrian Tew.
REFLECTING on Saturday’s game, Bridgwater and Albion head coach Simon Morrell said: “Chard were a good side and we were massively understrength so it was always going to be a really tough one for us.
“Our best XV would have had to play well to have beaten them the way they were.
“We are not going to get too worked up by the fact that we lost at Chard on Saturday who were superb and had a lot of power in their back line.
“We did what we needed to do away from home, we started strongly and in fairness we should have been 12-0 up.
“To have a try that was disallowed and a try that wasn’t was awarded to them gave a 14 point swing to them which took the lifeblood out of us really.
Morrell went on: “For me the killer was in the middle third of the game when we gave away six consecutive penalties and for them every one is a 50 yard gain and that killed us.
The head coach once again paid tribute to the large number of Bridgwater fans who made the trip to south Somerset to cheer the boys on.
“It’s incredible to see so many of our own supporters when we go away to play and the boys really value it,” he said.
On Wednesday evening the Albion are in Somerset Cup action when they face South West One (West) rivals Clevedon at Weston super Mare (ko 7.30pm).
“We have got a few that are struggling and need a rest butwe have got a few guys who are coming back to fitness now and need a good run out.
“We will be looking to turn up in force at training on Tuesday and put things right on Wednesday.”