South West 1 West
North Petherton 25, Bridgwater & Albion 22

NORTH Petherton claimed the bragging rights at the end of this humdinger of a local derby that was played under lights in front of a very large crowd on Friday evening, writes Richard Walsh.

Almost from the kick-off Pethy were reduced to 14 men when they had a player yellow carded for foul play, but despite this setback it was the hosts who had the chance to open the scoring, but just failed to kick a penalty.

The opening 15 minutes were dominated by the home side, but eventually Albion made their first incursion into Pethy territory, and Stuart Heal's drop goal from in front of the posts put the visitors ahead.

The hosts came straight back on the attack, and on 35 minutes, following a scrum close to the line on the right-hand side, Arron Gibbs crashed over for a try, which Adam Wright converted to give his side the lead.

On the stroke of half time Pethy extended their lead when they intercepted a pass deep in their own territory and hacked it forward, eventually resulting in Lewis Allen scoring an unconverted try to make the score 12-3 to the hosts at the break.

Albion began strongly after the restart, and four minutes into the half Gareth Clwyd-Jones scored a try in the corner, but Heal's conversion attempt came back off the inside of the post.

A Wright penalty extended Petherton’s lead but it did little to dampen the visitors' attacking intent, and on 55 minutes Will Monro was on hand to score a try near the left-hand corner that Heal converted to level the scores.

The home side were then reduced to 14 players following a yellow card for a high tackle, shortly after which Richard Bright ran down the right touchline to cross the line and touch down close to the posts.

Heal added the extras to give Bridgwater the lead, 22-15.

Both teams had given their all, but going into the final quarter the pace stepped up and when Pethy were awarded a penalty for offside, Wright slotted it home to reduce the arrears.

As the clock ticked down so the tension mounted and the hosts looked for every opportunity to score, which they eventually did when Gibbs went over for his second try, Wright converting to make the final score 25-22 to North Petherton.

This was local rugby at its very best and a great advert for the game, and credit must go to the players of both sides for providing such an exciting contest.

Before the start of the game both sides agreed that this game between the two sides would be played as a double header, so not only did North Petherton win the league encounter, but they will also progress into the next round of the Somerset Cup.

North Petherton: Dan Morgan, Tom Hillman, Alex Ogilvie, Jack Coles, Arron Gibbs, James Taylor, Aiden Cotton, Greg Charlton (c), Adam Wright, Nick Sestaret, Lewis Allen, John Gallagher, Tommy Wyatt, Damian Griffiths, Harry Auton.
Replacements: Callum Fitchew, Carl Brown, Bert Cowley.

Bridgwater & Albion: Lewis Phillips, Adam Greenslade, Niell Bezuidenhout, Dan Kemmish, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, Gareth Clwyd-Jones, Ollie Dunn (c), Wayne Sprangle, Tom Fournier, Stuart Heal, Oscar Tregnna, Taylor Buller, Rob Gurnett, Richard Bright, Will Monro.
Replacements: Jon Roberts, Rob Thompson, Craig Blyde.

The result leaves Albion fourth in the table, on 32 points, with Petherton 10th on 25 points; next Saturday (November 24), Albion host Okehampton, while Pethy go to Hornets.