South West 1 West
Cleve 22, Bridgwater & Albion 30

BRIDGWATER & Albion notched up their second victory of the new campaign when they ran out winners at Cleve, who were playing in the league above last season, writes Richard Walsh.

The visitors took the lead in the second minute, when Stuart Heal slotted a penalty kick from 38 metres.

Cleve responded strongly and could have taken the lead shortly afterwards, but the visiting defence held firm.

On 15 minutes James Collings kicked the ball into touch to the left, from which Cleve lost the line out and Albion winger Will Monro cut in and touched down for a try which Heal duly converted.

Play was very even for the next period, but on 36 minutes Collings was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on and shortly afterwards Fahey scored an unconverted try for Cleve.

Five minutes later the home side levelled the scores when Priddy scored a try, following good work by McCann.

Well into added time, Albion’s Shaun Mahoney made a good break before passing to George Sluman, who crashed over for a try to make the half-time score 15-10 to the visitors.

Bridgwater came out strongly after the break and on 45 minutes Heal kicked a penalty, but again the hosts came straight back and Welling scored a try which Mortimore converted to bring his side to within one point of the visitors.

In the last 20 minutes, however, Wayne Sprangle became more and more prominent for the visitors and after 63 minutes he broke from 22 metres to score an unconverted try.

Five minutes later Sprangle provided the pass for Monro to go over between the posts, and Heal converted.

Cleve kept going until the end, though, and were rewarded a try late on when House crashed over, to make the final score 30-22.

Bridgwater & Albion: James Collings, Will Monro, Garryn Basson, Jay Owens, Ryan Barnett, Stuart Heal (c), Tom Fournier D’Albe, Ollie Steward, George Sluman, Wayne Sprangle, Dan Kemmis, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, Graham Slorance, Shaun Mahoney, Matt Ranson. Replacements (all used): Lewis Phillips, Karolis Urbonis, Gavin Knight.

Albion director of rugby Geoff Sluman was full of praise for his side after they recorded their first away victory of the season.

He said: “This was another tough game due to the heat and the opposition, but also a tough game because we had some disruptions in our preparation caused by delays on the motorway journey and an injury in the warm-up.

“However, the squad dealt with all of that brilliantly.

“Make no mistake, Cleve are a good side and they had 10 points from two games before our match.

“It doesn’t really matter how they got those 10 points, they are there in the record and we had to play well for our first away trip of the season.”

Sluman went on: “It is pleasing to go away from home against a good side and bring back five league points.

“Some may look at the fact that we conceded four tries and say our defence was weak, but our defence was very good.

“We prevented Cleve from scoring on multiple occasions, so I was pleased with that.

“The heat required a huge effort from all 18 players and they all gave it, so I am very proud of that performance for them.

“Our 2nd XV didn’t not play this week because the opposition [Bath Old Edwardians] couldn’t raise a side.

“The seconds are due to play again in Somerset 1 on Friday night this week, against Wellington Seconds at home, kick off at 7.30pm.”

This weekend Albion’s 1st XV host Crediton on Saturday afternoon at College Way (ko 3pm).

Looking ahead to the game Sluman said: “Crediton are a little bit of an unknown quantity to us, and newly promoted into our league this season.

“However they have won all three of their games and have a 100 per cent record so far.

The Albion director of rugby added: “Our aim is to spoil that this weekend and the squad will be working hard in training, and I know will give it everything on Saturday afternoon so please come along and support if you can.”