South West 1 West
St Ives 44, Bridgwater & Albion 30

BRIDGWATER & Albion put up a fighting performance and scored two late tries on their first visit to St Ives for many years, but in the end it was the hosts who ran out the winners, writes Richard Walsh.

Despite kicking into a strong wind on the home side's hilltop ground, Albion had the best of the early exchanges and took the lead thanks to a Stuart Heal penalty.

But on 10 minutes St Ives grabbed the lead when, following a lineout close to the try-line in the right-hand corner, Martyn Lawrence crashed over to score.

Almost from the kickoff Will Monro collected the ball in his own half and made a great solo break through the middle, deep into St Ives territory, before he was tacked just short of the line.

The visitors maintained the pressure and on 13 minutes Ollie Dunn scored a try out on the left.

St Ives reclaimed the lead five minutes later, thanks to a try from hooker Rob Elworthy which Dan Magee converted, though a Heal penalty awarded for a high tackle narrowed the gap to just a single point.

On half an hour Jamie Prisk scored in the right-hand corner following a rolling maul, shortly after which Magee slotted home a penalty.

In the dying seconds of the half, home skipper Tom Nicholas hacked the ball over the Albion line, and it was Magee who won the race to touch the ball down, to make the score 25-11 at the interval.

St Ives extended their lead 10 minutes into the second half when Rob Elloway scored an unconverted try to make the score 30-11.

Albion came back strongly and on the hour were rewarded when Taylor Buller scored a try on the left, which Heal converted.

Yet the hosts quickly returned into Albion territory to score a try through Prisk, Magee adding the extras to make it 37-18.

Bridgwater were reduced to 14 men when Bryan Webb was yellow carded, and during his absence prop Ben Jenkins scored a try between the posts, which Rhys Brownfield converted.

Five minutes later St Ives had a player sent to the sin bin, soon after which Niell Bezuidenhout crashed over for his maiden try for the visitors, Heal converting.

Albion weren’t done yet and, almost with his first touch, replacement Gavin Knight picked up a loose ball on the right and ran to the line for a try, making the final score 44-30.

Bridgwater & Albion: Craig Blyde, Matt Ranson, Niell Bezuidenhout, George Musgrave, Dan Kemmish, Jack Musgrave, Ollie Dunn (c), Taylor Buller, Tom Fournier d’Able, Stuart Heal, Ryan Barnett, James Collings, Rob Gurnett, Richard Bright, Will Monro.
Replacements (all used): Gavin Knight, Bryan Webb, Matt House.

Next up for Albion, now seventh in the table, is a home match with 12th-placed Teignmouth, this coming Saturday.