South West 1 West

Lydney 43, Bridgwater & Albion 0

BRIDGWATER & Albion suffered their third consecutive defeat when they travelled to the Forest of Dean, where they found hosts Lydney far too strong for them, writes Richard Walsh.

The game was played in appalling weather conditions throughout, and the kick-off was brought forward by 30 minutes.

It was Lydney who seized the initiative, spreading the ball wide, and after four minutes full-back Tony Wicks scored an unconverted try to put the hosts ahead.

Lydney continued to dominate and four minutes later centre Joe McLean broke through to score a try that Wicks added the extras to, making it 12-0.

Bridgwater made their first incursion into home territory 15 minutes in, as they started to get to grips with the game.

Albion started to gain more confidence, but on the half-hour they looked to run the ball out of defence, spilled it, and Joe Hamlin went over to score a try that Wicks converted.

On the stroke of half-time Lydney created pressure which ended with scrum-half Williams going over for a fourth try, making it 24-0 at the break.

Four minutes after the restart the hosts extended their lead when Williams went over following a scrum close to the corner.

After 55 minutes Lydney went further ahead when Number 8 Ryan Watling scored a try that Wicks converted.

Almost from the kick-off, Lydney burst through the visiting defence yet again, and replacement Kurt Brown scored another converted try.

After the hour mark, with the weather deteriorating and conditions worsening, the referee decided to abandon the game with the hosts 43-0 ahead - a result that stands.

It was a commendable effort from Lydney for hosting the match and by both sides for playing, but another disappointing result for Albion.

Bridgwater & Albion: Will Monro, Roger Drabble, Ryan Barnett, Jay Owens, James Brakes, Stuart Heal, Oskar White, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, George Sluman, Eoghan Westhoff, Dan Kemmish, George Musgrave, Matt Ranson, Jordon Buller, Tim Blades. Replacements (all used): Lewis Phillips, Tom Hopkins, Shaun Mahoney.

Albion director of rugby Geoff Sluman had nothing but praise for the players and the referee for going ahead with Saturday’s game in the appalling conditions, but admits that it wasn’t a good day for his side.

Sluman said: “Well, that was a rather strange day for us.

“It started by receiving a call from Lydney early on Saturday morning saying everything was fine, the pitch was good, and we were OK to carry on.

“It was agreed that Lydney would call back at 10.30am to confirm, by which time the weather was deteriorating in Bridgwater.

“However, our hosts confirmed - somewhat to our surprise - that conditions were good, so we set off on our journey.

“On our arrival some two hours later we were met with the fact that the pitch was not at all playable and the match would have to be postponed.

“We waited half an hour, when it was agreed with the referee and captains that the match could start after all.

“The conditions were some of the worst imaginable that it is possible to play rugby in.

“Lydney won the toss and chose to play with the very strong wind in their favour, which they used to good effect.

“The wind kept us pinned in our 22 and in the appalling conditions, as soon as handling errors occurred, they were all scoring opportunities for Lydney.

“We need to be careful to learn the lessons and not just give ourselves reasons for the defeat, but the coaches will work through this in the week.”

He added: “On the 61st minute of the allocated 80 the referee blew the final whistle - 60 minutes being the minimum possible for the result to stand.

“The referee did extremely well for the duration of the game, so we have absolutely nothing but praise for the ref, and it must be said that Lydney dealt with the uncertainty and ultimately the poor conditions a lot better than our team did.

“We only have ourselves to blame for not having the psychology right.

“There is not a lot else to be said about the rugby to be honest, it was not a good day for us.

“But all of the players worked extremely hard in conditions that some have not experienced before.

“We have another week of uncertainty ahead of us because we are due to play our next round match in the Somerset Cup away to Old Redcliffians on Wednesday [7.30pm].

“But Old Reds did not play their scheduled league match due to the weather on Saturday, and we have a couple more days of Storm Dennis before Wednesday, so we are not sure if the fixture will go ahead.”

Albion’s first team have no fixture this coming Saturday, while the 2nd XV go to Keynsham - weather permitting.

Sluman added: “Keynsham also cancelled their home league match this weekend and with more poor weather forecast for early in the week, they always have a tough time of it, with their pitches being particularly susceptible to being waterlogged due to their low-lying elevation.

“So we don’t quite know exactly what we will be up to from a rugby point of view next week.

“However, what we do know is that we must deal with the uncertainty better than we did this week.”