A BIG crowd is expected at North Petherton's Beggars Brook this evening (Friday) as the hosts welcome local rivals Bridgwater & Albion for the first derby of the season.

The game kicks off at 7.30pm and sees 10th-placed Pethy going head-to-head with their fifth-placed visitors.

Albion director of rugby Geoff Sluman was pleased with the way that his side stuck to their guns to tough out a 29-22 victory over Newton Abbot on Saturday but warned there was still plenty to do in training ahead of Friday night’s big match.

Sluman said: “We played a very business-like game.

“We went behind early on but we stuck to our task, kept doing a lot of the things that we had been practising and there was a confidence that it would come good.

“Even though we have won a couple now we are deliberately critical of our own performances so we can improve further, so we still have plenty to work on in training.”

Looking ahead to the derby, Sluman said: “It is always a really good fixture for rugby in the local area, so please come and support if you can.”

North Petherton were without a scheduled fixture last Saturday but first team manager Andrew Ford believes his side will rise to the occasion on Friday.

“These are massive occasions and ones which all the players look forward to,” Ford said.

“We have focused a lot on fitness and physicality because in our last game [a narrow defeat to Sidmouth] we took our foot off the gas in the last 20 minutes.

“The derbies are very well supported spectacles and, though we have a few injuries to contend with, our boys are ready to go.”

North Petherton have the edge in recent fixtures and did the double over Albion last season, winning 22-21 at College Way in March having been 25-22 victors at Beggars Brook in November in two highly-competitive clashes.