South West 1 West
Chew Valley 19, Bridgwater & Albion 20

BRIDGWATER & Albion completed the league double on their first ever visit to Chew Valley on Saturday, thanks to the boot of their captain and fly-half Stuart Heal.

A much-changed Albion outfit were outscored by three tries to two, but this was an excellent performance from the visitors in difficult conditions.

Albion opened the scoring with the first try of the game in the eighth minute, as winger Will Munro made an interception and broke clear; he was brought down but the ball was recycled for scrum-half Tom Fournier to cross, and Heal added the conversion.

The visitors’ lead was cut to two points on 19 minutes, however, as home scrum-half Ben Mead made a darting run and put Lee Wedlake in at the corner.

Albion stretched their advantage back out to 14-5 at half-time, as Fournier made the break and prop Sam Adcock was up in support to go over, and Heal again added the extras.

Chew Valley had the elements in their favour after the break, and they scored in the 52nd minute - through fly-half Dan Gatton, whose try was converted by Zac Kavanagh - to make it 14-12.

However, good tactical awareness from Albion saw them kick well up the slope, keeping the hosts pinned back in their own half.

And poor discipline from Chew Valley was punished by Heal, who slotted penalties in the 60th and 67th minutes, taking the lead out to 20-12.

The hosts did not give up, though, and with the away side down to 14 men, centre Charles Shallcross lived up to his surname by going over off the back of a scrum - Kavanagh converting.

Some resolute defending in the closing exchanges secured Albion a hard-fought victory on the road, which takes them up to seventh spot going into 2020.

Bridgwater & Albion: Oscar White, Will Monro, Ryan Barnett, Simon Honey, Dylan Evans, Stuart Heal, Tom Fournier, Wayne Sprangle, George Sluman, Eoghan Westhoff, Dan Kemmish, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, Sam Adcock, Gavin Knight, Matt Ranson. Replacements: Tom Hopkins, Jay Owens.

Albion director of rugby Geoff Sluman said: “Due to the weather there was a lot of uncertainty as to whether the game would be played, so it was quite difficult for the players to prepare.

“Conditions were playable but gloomy; we played some really good and sensible rugby.

“The players’ work rate was exceptional, and it looks like we have learned from previous games because we took penalty kicks when they were on offer rather than just kicking for corners and going for tries.

“That kept the scoreboard ticking over and despite a strong finish by Chew Valley we were far enough in front to keep the lead.

“We have been very frustrated when we have lost by a single point, so it is nice to be on the right side of it this time.

“It wasn’t just about kicking penalties, as we scored two very well-worked tries and our defensive effort was immense.”

Sluman added: “Our next match will be on January 4, at home to Cleve.

“We will have a couple of training sessions off between now and then, but we will be training, and the players will be working hard.

“In the meantime, on behalf of Bridgwater & Albion RFC I would like to wish all of or supporters, sponsors and volunteers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”


South West 1 West
Devonport Services 15, North Petherton 10

TWO late tries denied North Petherton what would have been an excellent victory at league leaders Devonport Services on Saturday.

After a scoreless first half, the Plymouth-based side took the lead through winger Kyle Browne, who went over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Pethy hit back through their own winger, Matt Stevens, who took advantage of a quick tap and go to score a try which Jack Rees brilliantly converted from the touchline.

Rees then added a penalty to put Pethy 10-5 up but Devonport levelled it up with five minutes to go when fly-half Richard West joined a driving maul to touch down.

There was further heartbreak for the visitors as, in the last play of the game, another catch and drive led to another try as Andy Pond scored to win the game for Devonport.

The result sees Pethy end the year in ninth - their first game of 2020 is at home to Weston Hornets on January 4.