Late try rescues draw for Albion in thrilling encounter

Bridgwater Mercury: OLLIE Dunn OLLIE Dunn

Tribute South West 1 West

Clevedon 34 pts Bridgwater & Albion 34 pts

A LATE try from Joe Stradling rescued a draw for Bridgwater and Albion in a thrilling clash at Coleridge Vale on Saturday, writes Tony Pomeroy.

Unfortunately, the afternoon was overshadowed by a nasty injury to Rob Thompson, which saw the game delayed for nearly an hour.

For the second time in three weeks, Bridgwater would finish a game on a different pitch to one they started on.

The visitors could not have got off to a better start - racing into a 14-0 lead inside five minutes.

First fly-half Stuart Heal bundled his way over following good work from the pack, before Ollie Dunn found a gap in the home defence to race in under the posts.

Midway through the half, Clevedon hit back with a try when prop Jack Steadman scythed a hole to touch down unopposed.

Mike Taylor converted as he did for the second try on half an hour, when Mike Lowis put Oscar James in for a very good try to make it 14-14 at half-time.

Clevedon took the lead just after the restart with a penalty by Taylor, before Rob Thompson took off on a trademark charge up field that led to his injury and a long delay.

At the restart, Roger Drabble came on at scrum half with Knights moving to full back instead of Francis.

The game restarted with a penalty to Bridgwater kicked by Heal to level the scores and with a second penalty he took Bridgwater into the lead.

The see-saw nature of the game saw Clevedon draw level with a Taylor penalty before home flanker Foley was sin-binned.

With Clevedon shorthanded, Heal kicked three more penalties, but Clevedon managed a second try scored again by Steadman with Taylor adding the conversion to make the score 27-29 going into the final ten minutes.

When Foley returned to the fray, his first act was to intercept a Bridgwater pass deep in his own half.

The flanker sprinted away and despite being caught, managed to offload the ball to Tom Thie who scored the bonus point try wide out. Taylor converted with an excellent kick.

Bridgwater had a couple of penalties close to the home line and eventually a catch and drive was well worked and Joe Stradling scored near the touchline to level the scores, but Heal's conversion was just wide.

With the final kick of the game, Taylor was just short with a wide-angled penalty and despite fumbling the ball as it bounced under the posts; Bridgwater just scrambled a touchdown as the Clevedon hordes descended.

Most people agreed that the draw was a fair result in an excellent game of rugby. Clevedon gained three points and Bridgwater two - their first away points of the season.

Bridgwater will hope for better when they entertain bottom club Coney Hill next week whilst Clevedon make the long trek to Camborne.

Scorers: Clevedon Tries: Steadman (2), James, Thie Cons: Taylor (4) Pens: Taylor (2)

Bridgwater Tries Heal, Dunn, Stradling Cons: Heal (2) Pens: Heal (5)

Bridgwater Team Nick Francis, Arg Sariarelis, Ash Honeywell, Matt House, Joel Clark, Stuart Heal, Sam Knights, James Bryant, Matt House, Joe Bussell, Ali Blundell, Dan Kemmish (Capt), Tayler Buller, Ollie Dunn, Nick Spellissy.

Replacements all used: Joe Stradling, Rob Thompson, Roger Drabble

Referee: Andy Miller, Bristol Society

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