South West 1 West
Bridgwater & Albion 19, Lydney 13

BRIDGWATER & Albion snatched victory in the last five minutes of this pulsating game to return to winning ways, after being under pressure for a long spell, writes Richard Walsh.

With only two points separating the sides, this was always going to be a close match – and so it turned out.

However, looking back, Lydney must be wondering how they managed to lose a game they should have won.

They began well enough, with Conal Mills kicking a penalty and Rob White scoring an unconverted try, in the 14th and 20th minutes, respectively.

Albion finally got on the scoresheet after 25 minutes, when Dom Thorne snapped up a try which was converted by skipper Stuart Heal.

Trailing 8-7 at the interval, the hosts took the lead for the first time when Simon Honey went over, with Heal adding the extras.

Back came Lydney with a try by Harry Brown, but Mills missed a simple conversion in the horrible, wet and windy conditions.

The visitors were encamped on Albion’s line for 15 minutes, before the home side broke out and Thorne grabbed the winning try – and his second of the day – with just minutes remaining.

Bridgwater & Albion: Lewis Phillip, Samuel Adcock, Graham Slorance, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, Tom Hopkins, Eoghan Westhoff, George Sluman, Joe Bussell; Tom Fournier, Stuart Heal (c), Dom Thorne, Simon Honey, Ryan Barnett, Will Monro, Richard Bright. Replacements (all used): Matthew Ranson, Shaun Mahoney, Roger Drabble.

Before the game the Friends of Bridgwater & Albion RFC held a lunch attended by 175 people members and guests, who enjoyed a three-course meal before being entertained by a comedian and the match afterwards.


ALBION director of rugby Geoff Sluman said that his side has turned a corner after getting back to winning ways.

He said: “Whoever said there are no easy games in league rugby was absolutely right, and certainly playing Lydney was not at all easy.

“They were a big pack who play typical Gloucester rugby, playing to their strengths in their forwards.

“The wet and windy conditions would have suited them better so it made for a tough game.

“I am thrilled for the players that we came away with a win; it was not always pretty rugby but a win against Lydney is a win, and the team did what they had to do.

“We played the right sort of rugby on the right part of the pitch and at the right times.

“That took some great leadership, so the E18ighteen Gin man of the match was captain Stuart Heal.”

Sluman went on: “Our defensive work rate, particularly in the second half of the game, was very pleasing to see.

“Our set-piece competed well against a team with a strong set-piece, so there was a lot to be pleased about.

“Add on to that our past two or three games have not achieved the right results, so we have turned a bit of a corner too and have regained a little momentum.”

He added: “Our 2nd XV travelled to Cheddar Valley, where they lost 21-12.

“That shows how competitive the league they play in is, but they still sit in first place in Somerset 1.

“Next week we have no games, but our focus will remain in training and preparing for our next set of games.

“Next Saturday will still be a rugby day and we will be watching the World Cup final together at our clubhouse – everyone is welcome to join.

“Of course we’ll be strongly supporting England!”