South West 1 West
Bridgwater & Albion 27, Crediton 22

THE result of this hard-fought game was in the balance right up until the final whistle, but in the end it was Bridgwater & Albion who brought an end to Crediton’s winning start in the division, writes Richard Walsh.

The visitors were in the ascendancy almost from the start and after five minutes a free-kick into touch close to the right-hand corner was followed by a lineout, from which Josh Woodland scored a try to put Crediton into the lead.

Albion player-coach Wayne Sprangle limped off injured early on, but the hosts regrouped and after 15 minutes Stuart Heal kicked a penalty from 30 metres to get the hosts on the scoreboard.

Crediton extended their lead just before the half-hour, when Gareth Mason went over for an unconverted try.

The hosts came straight back and after a strong run through the middle by Shaun Mahoney, the ball was passed to Ethan Trebble-Westlake who went over for a try which Heal converted to level the scores.

A second try by Trebble-Westlake, following a quickly taken penalty on 40 minutes, saw Bridgwater take the lead for the first time in the match.

Newly-promoted Crediton regained the lead almost immediately, however, as Lewis Warren scored a try which Jason Luff converted, making the score 17-15 to the visitors at half-time.

The opening exchanges in the second half were rather scrappy but on 58 minutes Crediton were awarded a scrum on the left, and from the ensuing rolling maul Phil Homes crashed over for an unconverted try.

After 15 minutes of the second half Crediton were reduced to 14 men when Rob Leach was yellow carded for an infringement.

Bridgwater then enjoyed a period of pressure and they got their reward when Richard Bright touched down between the posts for a try, which James Collings converted to level the scores and set up a grandstand finish.

Deep into added time, slick handling by Albion resulted in Ollie Steward scoring an unconverted try which made the final score 27-22 to the hosts.

Bridgwater & Albion: Lewis Phillips, Shaun Mahoney, Matt Ranson, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, Dan Kemmish, Ollie Steward, George Sluman, Wayne Sprangle, Tom Fournier d’Able, Stuart Heal (c), Richard Bright, Jay Owens, Garryn Basson, Ryan Barnett, James Collings. Replacements (all used): Graham Slorrance, Tom Hopkins, Simon Honey.


ALBION director of rugby Geoff Sluman was happy to admit that his side were slightly lucky to beat Crediton on Saturday.

“If we are honest that was one we got away with and we were a little bit lucky,” he said.

“We could dress it up a bit but we didn’t play that well for the majority of the game and we sort of stole it in the last 15 minutes.”

However, there were some contributing factors in this patchy performance, as Sluman explained.

“We lost Wayne Sprangle after just a couple of minutes with a hamstring injury, and then we lost Stu Heal – our captain and main goal kicker – before half-time.

“I suppose when you lose two of your talismen you could crumble, but in fairness to the team they did not do that and we kept our shape and intent.

“So why it was not better is hard to put your finger on; sometimes our decision-making and handling were far from good.

“However, the team worked hard for the cause and each other.

“We had a great blend of experience and also had a couple of guys making debuts, and we are benefitting from that mix.”

Stalwart Dan Kemmish made his 399th appearance for the club, with Ethan Trebble-Westlake on 98 appearances and Tom Fournier d’Able on 97.

Tom Hopkins and Simon Honey both debuted and put in very good and creditable performances, while Shaun Mahoney, who was on top form, was the E18ghteen Gin man of the match.

Meanwhile, Bridgwater & Albion 2nd XV had a great win over Wellington 2nds on Friday evening, winning a hard-fought match 14-13.

Sluman said: “The guys in that squad are putting pressure on the 1st XV because there were some impressive performances in that game.

“Our ladies had a great win, too, on Sunday against Brixham, so many congratulations to them.”