South West 1 West
Bridgwater & Albion 12, Hornets 21

BRIDGWATER & Albion slipped to another disappointing defeat, this time at the hands of a Hornets side who remained combative throughout, defended well and took advantage of the errors made by their hosts, writes Richard Walsh.

The home side were led out on to the field by Ethan Trebble-Westlake, who was making his 100th first team appearance for the club.

Hornets attacked from the off but after 10 minutes it was Albion who took the lead against the run of play, as debutant Dylan Evans picked up the ball deep in his own half and sprinted to the try-line to touch down to the left of the posts, with Stuart Heal converting.

The rest of the first half was very evenly contested until, on 41 minutes, Hornets got themselves on to the scoreboard courtesy of a penalty slotted by Charlie Carter.

The visitors were then reduced to 14 men when they had Adam Francis yellow carded, straight after which the referee blew for half-time, with the score 7-3 to Albion.

Bridgwater came out after the interval firing on all cylinders, but despite their best attempts the Hornets defence cleared their lines.

Eventually, after seven minutes of the half, the hosts got their reward when Simon Honey scored an unconverted try in the left-hand corner.

Five minutes later Hornets were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, which Danny Bailey kicked to reduce the arrears to 12-6.

Shortly afterwards the home side found themselves reduced to 14 players when they had Tom Hopkins sent to the sin bin.

Bailey kicked another penalty, given for offside, and then three minutes later Rob Dempsey scored an unconverted try to the left of the posts to put Hornets ahead for the first time in the match.

Albion had the chance to regain the lead but captain Heal’s penalty glanced the upright and fell to ground the wrong side of the posts.

The home side then had a second player yellow carded when Garryn Basson was sent packing for 10 minutes, and going into the last few minutes Bailey ran through to score a try that Carter converted to make the final score 12-21.

Bridgwater & Albion: Sam Adcock, Shaun Mahoney, Matt Ranson, George Musgrave, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, Tom Hopkins, George Sluman, Joe Bussell, Tom Fournier D’Albe, Stuart Heal (c), Dylan Evans, Garryn Basson, Simon Honey, Will Monro, James Collings. Replacements (all used): Tim Blades, Olly Steward, Jay Owens.

While Albion director of rugby Geoff Sluman was disappointed, he wasn’t unsurprised by Saturday’s defeat.

He said: “It feels like this result may have been coming for a couple of weeks.

“We never really got out of first gear, let alone second or third gears.

“Hard work on the training pitch is the cure that usually works the best, so that is exactly what we will be doing this week.”

Despite the result there were some very positive aspects that came out of Saturday’s match.

Sluman added: “It was not all bad, however, and the try we scored early in the second half may be one of the contenders for try of the season with the interplay and unloads that were completed.

“The blend of experience and new talent continues to develop.

“Ethan Treble-Westlake made his 100th first team appearance on Saturday, while Dylan Evans debuted and scored a brilliant solo try from deep in our own half.

“Overall, Dylan produced a very competent performance and was awarded the E18ghteen Gin man of the match.”