South West One (West)

Bridgwater and Albion 21, North Petherton 22

A LAST-GASP try sealed a derby double for North Petherton in a pulsating clash against Bridgwater & Albion watched by a crowd well in excess of 1,000, writes Richard Walsh.

Games between these two evenly balanced sides in recent years have produced high octane encounters and this was certainly no exception and gave the fans of both sides something to cheer about.

The opening exchanges were evenly matched with both sides enjoying periods of pressure that resulted in scoring opportunities which came to no avail.

However, it was Bridgwater who broke the deadlock on 23 minutes when player-coach Wayne Sprangle charged down a clearance on the right and ran down the line to score a try that Stuart Heal converted.

That looked like being the only score of the half but North Petherton had other ideas and on 37 minutes an impressive break from young Nic Sestaret on the left resulted in Mitch Needham going over for a try which Harry Auton converted to make it 7-7 at the break.

Bridgwater started strongly after the interval and five minutes into the half Richard Bright was on hand to score a try from close range that Heal converted.

Pethy again responded strongly and created pressure on the Bridgwater line that was eventually rewarded when James Taylor crashed over for an unconverted try.

On 65 minutes, a good run by Rob Gurnett resulted in him scoring a try which Heal converted to extend the hosts’ lead to 21-12.

With just over five minutes of the match remaining North Petherton were awarded a penalty that Auton slotted home to make the score 21-15.

From this point the game was anyone’s and both sides gave it their all.

However, in the end it was North Petherton who dug the deepest to claim the spoils when James Taylor went over to the left of the posts for his second try of the match which Auton added the extras to, making the final score 21-22.

This was a local derby to remember and a great spectacle, as well as a fine example of the quality of the game between two sides based within a few miles of each other.

Bridgwater and Albion: Lewis Phillips, Adam Greenslade, Craig Blyde, George Musgrave, Dan Kemmish, Wayne Sprangle, George Sluman, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, Tom Fournier, Stuart Heal (Capt), Will Monro, James Collings, Rob Gurnett, Kyran Devitt and Richard Bright; Replacements: Matt Ranson, Harvey Derby and Garryn Basson.

North Petherton: Charlie Johnson, Sam Williams, Dan Morgan, Greg Charlton, Aaron Gibbs (capt), Aiden Cotton, Mac Taylor, James Taylor, Dominik Griffin, Nic Sestaret, Mitch Needham, Tommy Wyatt, Jon Gallagher, Damian Grffin, Harry Auton; replacements: Tom Hillman, Eryk Lukaz and Jamie Adams.