Tribute South West One West
BRIDGWATER & Albion finished the season in disappointing fashion as they slipped to a 25-17 defeat at Bideford, writes Tony Pomeroy.
The visitors scored three tries in their final league game of the season, courtesy of James Brakes, Tayler Buller and a penalty try – as Albion finished the season with 11 wins and 14 defeats.
Stu Heal missed a couple of early penalties, before Bideford took the lead with a converted try.
Bridgwater again attacked and, following a driving maul from a lineout, crossed the home line only for the ball to be held up. Bridgwater were penalised at the resulting scrum.
When Bridgwater were adjudged to have infringed at a tackle, Wickett increased the home lead with a penalty.
Bridgwater continued to pressurise the home line with Ollie Dunn and Nick Spellissy looking dangerous with ball in hand.
Heal was putting in some very good touch-finders for Bridgwater, but just before half time he missed a very kickable penalty to leave the visitors trailing 0-10 at the break.
Bridgwater introduced LJ Chawatama at the break, but the home side had a dream start to the half when a simple passing move brought a try for full-back Chris Snell. Wickett missed the easy conversion.
Bridgwater hit back immediately - Bideford were offside at the kick off and Heal put the ball in touch deep in the home 22.
From the subsequent driving maul, Knights fed Brakes who got the first Bridgwater try. The conversion was wide.
Bryan Webb replaced Ash Pippard, with Ollie Dunn moving into the centre.
He immediately made good progress down the right before Heal executed an excellent cross kick.
The ball reached Brakes, travelling at speed, but he was unable to hang onto it and another possible try went begging.
However, Bridgwater stayed on the attack and the home side conceded a number of penalties.
With the visiting crowd baying for a penalty try at the third offence, the referee eventually awarded the penalty try for the fourth consecutive infringement in 'the red zone'. Heal duly converted.
On a rare foray into Bridgwater territory, Bideford were awarded a penalty, kicked by Wickett. At 18-12 with a quarter of the game to play, any result was possible.
Bridgwater continued to play in the opposition half but it was the home side who scored next.
Dunn lost possession on the home 22 and winger, James Buckland sprinted 75 metres for a third Bideford try, converted by Wickett.
With the clock ticking away remorselessly, Bridgwater threw everything into attack - Eventually, the pack drove over and Tayler Buller was credited with the try.
Trying to get another play, Heal attempted a very quick drop kick conversion that went well wide. However, the kick was the signal for the final whistle and Bridgwater had missed a losing bonus point by the narrowest of margins.
Bideford Tries: Scott, Snell, Buckland Cons: Wickett (2) Pens: Wickett (2)
Bridgwater & Albion Tries: Brakes, Buller, Penalty Try Con: Heal
Bridgwater Team: Nick Francis, Garryn Basson, Rob Allen, Stu Heal, James Brakes, Ash Pippard, Sam Knights, James Bryant, Matt Hastie, Joe Bussell, Ali Blundell, Dan Kemmish (C), Nick Spellissy, Ollie Dunn, Tayler Buller Replacements used , Lovejoy Chawatama, Bryan Webb, unused Simon Martin Referee: Kelvin Williams, (Cornwall Society)