Bridgwater and Albion RFC 32-26 Newton Abbot

This was a see saw game between two sides in the lower reaches of the table but at the end of a contest which had both the local and travelling supporters on the edge of their seats until the final whistle it Bridgwater and Albion who ran out the winners, thanks to a brace of tries each from Jordan Buller and Jack Perry and one from captain George Sluman.

This match marked the debut of Ben Howden and was extra special because it was the birthdays of both Karolis Urbonas and Dan Lang. 

Full credit must go to the Albion club officials and the referee for getting this game on and to the players of both sides who put in a wholehearted display to warm up the spectators.

Bridgwater went into the attack from the start but it was Newton Abbot who opened the scoring when Corey Wayne intercepted a pass deep inside his own half and ran the full length of the pitch to score touch down for a try to the right of the posts which Jay Barnes added the extras to.

The hosts responded quickly and after 12 minutes Jordan Buller opened their account with a try which Tom Steer converted. Four minutes later Perry scored following a charge down  giving Bridgwater a 12-7 lead.

Jordan Buller looked back to his old self when after 25 minutes he stole the ball at a line out and charged down the left flank before crossing for a try in the left corner.

Bridgwater were very much in the ascendancy and just before the half time whistle a line out to the right well into Newton Abbot territory resulted in a rolling maul at the end of which Perry crashed over for a try making the score 22-7 at the interval.

The visitors came out strongly after the break and dominated proceedings. The Bridgwater defence held firm unto after 46 minutes following two tap and go penalties the Devon side was eventually rewarded when Scott Mason went over for an unconverted try.

Bridgwater went straight back onto the offensive and spent the next few minutes camped close to the visitors line, during which time the opponents were reduced to 13 players when both John Lay and Mason were yellow carded in quick succession.

Despite this disadvantage the Devon side kept on attacking and during one of their skirmishes Ben Howden, making his debut for Bridgwater was shown a yellow card.

From the restart Newton Abbot bundled the ball over the line for a try that was credited to Max Wright which Barnes converted to make the score 22-19.

For the next period of play the visitors dominated the possession as they pressed hard to get themselves back in front, but despite this pressure Bridgwater kept the Devon marauders at bay.

The hosts created some breathing space and extended their lead when James Collings received the ball from a quick thinking Roger Drabble, well inside his own half and set off on a dazzling run that cut through the Newton Abbot defence  before passing to Sluman who scored a try which Steer converted.

If Bridgwater thought that was it then they were wrong when shortly afterwards Charlie Dore made a strong run down the right flank before scoring an unconverted try, to bring the visitors within three points of the lead.

With the clock ticking down and Bridgwater in an attacking position a third Newton Abbot player Rory Blackmore was yellow carded and Steer kicked the penalty shortly after which, much to the relief of the good sized vociferous Bridgwater crowd the referee blew the final whistle.

The match was sponsored by B&ARFC President Mike Berry, who is now in his 58th season with the club, 50 of which were spent playing on the field where he pulled on an Albion shirt on 1595 occasions, 347 of which were in the First XV. 

BARFC woulk like to thank  Mike for all of his support  support and sponsorship which included a buffet lunch for 120 guests that was very much appreciated and much enjoyed. 

Bridgwater and Albion- Ben Howden, Jordan Buller, Mike Saunders, Taylor Buller (vice capt), Tom West, Karolis Urbonas  George Sluman (capt), Jack Perry, Roger Drabble, Tom Steer, Danny Mahoney, Jay Owens, Lewis Plece, Dan Lang and James Collings.

Replacements all used - James Palmer, Gavin Knight and Josh Parker.

Bridgwater are next in action when they travel to play North Petherton away on Saturday 7th January 2023.