South West 1 West
North Petherton 9, Bridgwater & Albion 7

THIS Friday night game had everything that you could possibly want from a local derby, writes Richard Walsh.

Played in heavy rain throughout, on a very wet pitch under floodlights, in front of a crowd of almost 800, there was even a streaker thrown in for good measure to bring a little humour to the situation.

At the end of what was a good game to watch given the conditions, it was hosts North Petherton who claimed the bragging rights, thanks to three first-half penalties which Bridgwater spent the rest of the match trying to overhaul.

Before the start of the game at Beggars Brook, both sides lined up to observe a minute's silence in memory of Jason Collard, a North Petherton stalwart who passed away this month.

League positions counted for nothing on an evening like this, and it was North Petherton who took the lead when Jack Rees slotted over the first of his three penalties, this one for offside.

On five minutes Rees kicked his second penalty, also for offside, to give the hosts a 6-0 lead.

At this stage Pethy were dominating proceedings and whenever the visitors started an attack they were quickly closed down.

After 20 minutes Albion were penalised for not rolling away, and Rees knocked over his third penalty to make it 9-0.

The visitors made their first real incursion into home territory just before the half-hour mark, but there was no way through and the Petherton defence held firm.

On 35 minutes Bridgwater’s persistent pressure was rewarded with a kickable penalty, but the ball went just wide of the upright.

Shortly afterwards Bridgwater No 8 Wayne Sprangle drove through, but once again the home defence held firm.

Just before half-time the hosts were reduced to 14 men when Josh Frost was yellow carded, but still Albion could not get on the scoreboard, and it remained 9-0 at the interval.

The visitors made a good start after the break and were straight onto the attack.

However, despite Albion creating pressure and going close, the home defence continued to hold firm.

The momentum of the game had truly swung Bridgwater's way, but try as they might, each time they gained ground and created pressure they were beaten back by the Pethy defence.

In the dying moments, Stuart Heal spotted Will Monro out wide to his right and chipped the ball to the winger, who crashed over for a try, to which captain Heal added the extras.

Shortly after the restart the referee blew the final whistle, with the final score 9-7 to the home side.

North Petherton: Dan Morgan, Alex Dunham, Sam Williams (c), Arron Gibbs, Jack Coles, Dan Dwyer, Mac Taylor, James Taylor, Dom Griffin, Josh Frost, Lewis Allen, Michael Stevens, Damian Griffin, Mitchell Needham, Jack Rees. Replacements: Lee Briffett, Connor Perkins, John Gallagher.

Bridgwater & Albion: Lewis Phillips, Jordan Buller, Sam Adcock, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, Dan Kemmish, Tom Hopkins, George Sluman, Wayne Sprangle, Tom Fournier d’Albe, Stuart Heal (c), Dom Thorne, Simon Honey, Ryan Barnett, Will Monro, Richard Bright. Replacements: Matt Ranson, Karolis Urbonis, Oskar White.

The result leaves Bridgwater fifth in the South West 1 West table, with North Petherton in seventh (five points behind, but with a game in hand).

After a week off, the following Saturday (December 7) sees Albion host Sidmouth, and Pethy visit Chew Valley.