South West 1 West
Bridgwater & Albion 24, Sidmouth 27

BRIDGWATER dominated this game for long periods and at one stage led 19-0 but, in the end, it was Sidmouth who fought back strongly to sneak victory, writes Richard Walsh.

The visitors had the better of the opening skirmishes but, after 10 minutes, the ball was chipped ahead and Richard Bright, on the left wing, collected the friendly bounce and ran through to score between the posts.

Stuart Heal converted to put Albion ahead.

The home side were showing real intent but Sidmouth matched whatever Bridgwater had to offer and the next 20 minutes of the game was pretty even.

On 32 minutes, however, Tim Blades made a forceful run through the middle and did all the hard work before offloading to Wayne Sprangle, who scored just to the left of the posts, and again Heal added the extras.

Three minutes later, Shaun Mahoney, who had just come on as a replacement, picked up the ball on the halfway line and charged to the line, leaving everyone in his wake before crashing over to the right of the posts to make it 19-0 to Albion.

After 41 minutes, Sidmouth mounted their best attack so far but were held up on the line.

Two minutes later, though, they were rewarded with a try by Luke Wells-Burr to the right of the posts.

On 47 minutes, Sidmouth were awarded a penalty which Dan Retter slotted home immediately, after which the referee blew the whistle for half-time with the score 19-8.

Bridgwater started strongly after the interval and their early pressure paid off as Eoghan Westhoff went over for an unconverted try to the right of the posts, extending the hosts’ lead to 24-8.

Sidmouth hit back with two kicks down the left flank that took them deep into Bridgwater territory.

They maintained the pressure on the home defence and, eventually, from a five metre scrum, Wells-Burr went over for his second try, which Retter converted.

At the other end, Kyran Devitt produced a run deep into the Sidmouth half but the final pass was knocked on and the attack came to nothing.

Bridgwater then had two players yellow carded - Dan Kemmish and, seven minutes later, James Collings.

While the hosts were reduced to 13 players, Sam Meadham went over for an unconverted try to make it 24-20.

Sidmouth continued to attack and, after a series of infringements close to the Bridgwater line, they were awarded a penalty try, straight after which Wayne Sprangle was yellow carded as the game ended 27-24 to the visitors.

Bridgwater & Albion: Tim Blades, Jordan Buller, Lewis Phillips, Wayne Sprangle, Dan Kemmish, Eoghan Westhoff, George Sluman, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, Tom Fournier D’Albe, Stuart Heal (c), Will Monro, James Collings, Ryan Barnett, Richard Bright, Oskar White. Replacements (all used): Matt Ranson, Shaun Mahoney, Kyran Devitt.

Albion director of rugby Geoff Sluman was clearly disappointed with the outcome, as newly-promoted Sidmouth stole victory at the death after trailing for the whole of the match.

He said: “I have to say it was a lesson on how to lose a game.

“We started the best we have, probably all season. We were playing sensible rugby and making Sidmouth defend very hard.

“It was fairly even but we got the first breakthrough and try and appeared to improve further to take a comfortable lead by half-time.

“I think we scored first after half-time so we really should have managed the game from there.

“However, we made a series of errors and some poor decisions to allow Sidmouth back in the game and take the victory.

“It should not have been a surprise to us that Sidmouth were capable of doing that as we knew they had won four of their last five games.

“However, we scored a losing bonus point and a four-try bonus point, too, so did take something from the game in the form of two bonus points."

Albion are without a scheduled fixture this coming weekend.


South West 1 West
Chew Valley 37, North Petherton 0

NORTH Petherton tumbled down to 10th place in the division, after a heavy defeat away to third-placed Chew Valley on Saturday.

Pethy were 6-0 down early on, with home full-back Tom Bryan slotting two penalties, and then Joe Webb went over for a converted try.

The visitors’ first visit to the opposition 22 came after 20 minutes, but James Taylor was held up and then Harry Auton was unable to ground the ball.

The pressure continued, but then it was Jack Rees’ turn to be held up, and Chew Valley turned the ball over, worked it upfield and won another penalty, kicked by Bryan to make it 16-0 at half-time.

Two tries from Alex Cox, the first of which was converted by Bryan and the second by Zac Kavanagh, killed the game off after the break.

A bonus-point score from Grady Wright - converted by Kavanagh - wrapped things up for the hosts.

Results elsewhere bumped Pethy down to 10th spot, but they are just five points off sixth in what is a congested mid-table section.

This coming Saturday sees them host 11th-place Cleve at Beggars Brook.