A SECOND-half fight back wasn't enough for Bridgwater & Albion as they slipped to a second successive defeat at home to St Austell on Saturday, writes Tony Pomeroy.

This was yet another game of two halves - St. Austell dominated the first period with the aid of the breeze, building up a commanding 0-19 lead, before a Bridgwater fight back left them with a consolation losing bonus point.

Ian Venner opened the scoring for St Austell in the 12th minute after receiving a pass that looked suspiciously forward - Andy Ashwin converted.

Almost immediately, Bridgwater shot themselves in the foot when St Austell took advantage of an aimless kick to score their second try of the afternoon.

Bridgwater fought back and despite exerting pressure on the visitor's line, could not score.

Just before half time, Rob Allen broke through for Bridgwater but was stopped short and visiting flanker Paul Winterbottom was yellow carded.

Deep in first half injury time, Bridgwater contrived to lose the ball in midfield and replacement prop, Jamie Holloway, scored a short-handed and unconverted try to give the visitors a 0-19 interval lead.

It got worse for Bridgwater as they were penalised straight from the kick off and Ashwin kicked a 30m penalty.

Bridgwater then woke up. LJ Chawatama broke clear down the left touch line but was adjudged to have put his foot in touch just before touching down before Stuart Heal landed a 26m penalty to open Bridgwater's account.

After 10 minutes, St. Austell's Adam Pearce was sent to the bin for a very nasty-looking challenge on Allen who needed lengthy treatment.

However, he had the last laugh as minutes later, when St. Austell lost the ball in midfield, he hacked through and seemed very fortunate to be awarded a try as he dived for a rolling ball. Heal converted easily.

With ten minutes remaining, Arg Saliarelis wriggled over in the corner and Heal converted with a wonderful kick from the touchline to bring Bridgwater within five points.

In the dying seconds, the crowd all thought that Ollie Dunn had scored for Bridgwater but the referee ruled, rightly, that the ball had not been grounded properly.

Bridgwater face Chard next Saturday (November 2).


Bridgwater & Albion Tries: Allen, Saliarelis Cons : Heal (2) Pen: Heal

St Austell Tries: Venner, Welland, Holloway Cons: Ashwin (2) Pen: Ashwin

Bridgwater Team

Ash Honeywell. Joel Clark, Rob Allen, Will Kerry, Arg Saliarelis, Stu Heal, Sam Knights, LJ Chawatama, Ollie Dunn, Joe Bussell, Ali Blundell, Dan Kemmish (Capt), Tayler Buller, Joe Stradling, Nick Spellissy.

Reps : Matt Hastie (for Stradling 45), James Bryant (for Bussell 61) Roger Drabble (for Knights 66) Referee : Neil Chivers (North Midlands Federation)