South West 1 West
Newent 23, Bridgwater & Albion 20

BRIDGWATER & Albion produced their best performance to date on the sloping pitch at Newent, but in the end of the game it was the hosts who ran out narrow winners.

The Somerset side welcomed back Ollie Dunn from injury and kicked off down the slope, but it was Newent who had the better of the opening exchanges.

However, on eight minutes a Stuart Heal penalty put the visitors to within seven metres of the home line, and number 8 Brad Talbot eventually forced his way over the line.

Within three minutes Newent hit back, as full-back Nathan Brooks kicked a penalty, but on 15 minutes the Somerset side extended their lead following some good work by Luke Plummer, who passed onto Will Monro to score a fine individual try, which Heal converted.

Talbot was sin-binned following a skirmish, but Aaron Kelly went close to another score for the visitors, who led 12-3 at half time.

Within three minutes of the restart, Heal kicked a penalty for the visitors, but it wasn’t long before Newent started to make their home advantage count, as winger Tom Martin scored an unconverted try.

Bridgwater were reduced to 14 men for the second time in the match when Sam Adcock was yellow carded, and during his absence Newent drove towards the line, and George Phelps claimed the score.

Soon after, the hosts scored another try to take the lead for the first time, this time through Brooks, who took advantage of an errant kick to make it 18-15.

With five minutes to go Russell Upton chased down a kick and scored an unconverted try for Newent, and although there was a final flourish from Albion – Tom Fournier going over – they finished three points adrift.

Bridgwater & Albion: Will Monro, Kieran Devitt, Nik Bradley, Luke Plummer, Joe Clarke, Stuart Heal, Tom Fournier, Brad Talbot, George Sluman, Ollie Dunn, Arron Kelly, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, Craig Blyde, Sam Adcock, Matt Ranson. Replacements (all used): Lewis Phillips, Dan Kemmish, Lewis Plece.

Next weekend is derby day for Albion, as they host local rivals North Petherton on Saturday.

After a poor start to the season, Pethy have won their last three on the bounce, and so they are just two points behind Saturday's hosts.