Tribute South West 1 – West

Bridgwater & Albion 18 – North Petherton 22

Saturday 23rd April 2016

Report By Simon Freeman

Honours even for the season with recent form giving a clearer indication rather than league position. Petherton kept their nerve and belief to take the lead for the final time in the 76th minute. As predicted the game would go to the final play with only one score between teams.

Captains Comments (Albion – Ollie Dunn) ” Very tense!! The game as always was played in the right spirit. Defences were rock solid. It is very disappointing to concede a last gasp try, but we will move on and look forward to the next one!

Damian Griffin
“We went into the game off of a very nervy week of training and we were on edge for a long period of the game. We started off really strong and things were looking good, we knew we had to starve bridgy of any ball as if they got any momentum they would be dangerous which they were for a lot of the game. This local derby was always going to throw our game plan out the window as much as we tried not to let that happen we made some crazy decisions which we wouldn’t have done against other teams that could have cost us the game. We said from the start this game wasn’t going to be won until the dying seconds and that definitely came true, although it was good to watch it was a struggle to play at times. We should have isolated there backs more as they had two key players off from injury but it was kept tightl in the forwards who all had an amazing game winning lots of scrums and lineouts against the head. All in all it was a massive relief to get the win and definitely reflects our second half performance of the season with the amount of effort, time and commitment that’s gone into it not only from the players but behind the scenes from the club and great management from John Evans and Pete Woolacott. To bounce back from a really poor start to the season like we have showed huge character from everyone and I’m so proud of the team for sticking at it and digging deep to turn our season around and that victory at the end was a well deserved award for us. I’d like to thank everyone who has sponsored and supported us through thick and thin this season it’s always been appreciated by the team. And I wish for all the players to have a good rest and recovery this summer”.

The match started perfectly for the visitors who immediately held territory and possession and moved the ball smartly amongst the backs. As early as the fifth minute a break from Toby Harris who sucked in 3 defenders and in a flash the ball was moved along the backline with Gavin Hancock supplying the final pass for Harry Roberts to stretch over for the first score (0-5).

Pethy continued with the pressure and Albion had to be on their guard to shut out numerous dangerous attacks. However, it was only short lived as in the 14th minute some strong work from Harry Autun and Jack Kohler gave Nick Sestaret the opportunity to scorch over, Roberts converted (0-12).

Bridgwater bounced back strongly, particularly as they had to reshuffle after losing two key players. The home team began to gain possession and test the Pethy defence which started to upset the official as Albion gained a series of penalties. The home forwards looked dangerous with Dan Kemmish continuing to win his fair share of lineouts and setting up powerful drives from which they moved the ball from left to right for Rob Gurnett to make an arcing run to the try line, John Hill added the conversion. (7-12)

The momentum stayed with Albion who ran hard at the Pethy defence with Matt Hastie, Arron Gibbs and Carl Brown all making important contributions. However, the lead was narrowed after Hill slotted over a well struck penalty (10-12).

This time it was for Pethy to respond after a good break from Damian Griffin who found a small hole to escape through but just as the visitors looked dangerous some excellent tackling prevented any further scores. Albion playing in to the wind skilfully worked their way out of defensive situations with well placed kicks to put Pethy onto the back foot and were kept out by more resolute defending from Dan Morgan, Pete Dickens and Dominik Griffin to bring the first half to a close.

Petherton started the second half playing in to the breeze and began to exert pressure and positioned themselves in the Albion 22. However, it was Albion who were first on the scoreboard with a Chris Ashwin penalty to give Albion the lead for the first time (13-12).

Pethy responded with a couple of short drives and looked close to crossing over with James Taylor being held up over the line. The resulting pressure began to tell on Albion as they conceded a couple of penalties which Pethy chose to run but the home team did enough to keep their tryline intact. Pethy learnt their lesson as within a couple of minutes a penalty under the posts was slotted over by Roberts for a 13-15 lead.

Pethy looked to be playing with a bit more confidence and again started to move the ball around but were equally well defended against and the breakdown remained equal throughout. The next passage of play saw some strong play from the Albion forwards who created some space followed by some slick handling along the backline for Oscar Tregenna to score out wide to retake the lead 18-15.

The game became disjointed with both teams striving for any supremacy they could muster, every tackle cheered by the respective supporters of the teams and the collisions even more combative. As the game entered the final five minutes Pethy made their way in to home teams 22 through a slippery run from Autun and with the ball coming back quickly Pethy moved it down the line with Kyle Presscott superbly timing his pass for Roberts to run over the line and dot the ball down and add the conversion himself to make the score 18-22.

The final few moments involved Albion throwing everything at their rivals with Pethy keeping composed and disciplined in defence until the official decided time was up to end a gripping local derby.