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  Bridgwater beat North Petherton in local derby  

BRIDGWATER and Albion recorded their first victory of the season and claimed the bragging rights after beating local rivals North Petherton in a tense encounter in front of a large crowd on Friday evening.

The home team was led out Shaun Mahoney and George Sluman who were making their 50th and 100th appearances for the club.

Bridgwater had the chance to take the lead after four minutes when they were awarded a penalty just inside the Pethy half, but the long range kick was caught by the wind and went wide.

Three minutes later Albion mounted a move that saw them over the visitors try line but Pethy defended well and they were unable to ground the ball.

After quarter of an hour North Petherton created their first scoring chance when following a cross field clearance they were awarded a scrum on the five metre line just to the left of the posts, but the Albion defence held firm and their effort was held up.

Soon after however the visitor’s pressure was rewarded when full back Jack Rees kicked a penalty from the 22 metre line.

On 20 minutes Pethy extended their lead when Rees kicked another penalty to make the score 6-0 to the visitors.

Will Munro threatened whenever he got the ball and on one occasion burst down the right hand side for the hosts but once again the visitors defence held firm. Both sides had their chances but neither were able to make them count and the half ended without any further score.

The hosts kicked off the second half and within three minutes of the re-start Petherton had a player yellow carded and the resultant penalty was slotted home by Stuart Heal to make the score 3-6.

Bridgwater were very much in the ascendancy at this stage and five minutes later Oskar White burst through the middle and touched down for a try between the posts which Heal added the extras to which put the home side in front.

North Petherton came back strongly and mounted a series of attacks down the right hand side but on each occasion they failed to make their pressure count.

With 20 minutes remaining Bridgwater had a player yellow carded but despite this they managed to repel the Petherton attacks, and it was the home side who ended the game the stronger to run out the winners of this fiercely contested and competitive local derby.

Bridgwater and Albion- Mike Saunders, Gavin Knight, Lewis Phillips,Wayne Sprangle, Alex Payne (capt), Shaun Mahoney, George Sluman, Ethan Trebble-Westlake, Jake Knight, Stuart Heal, Thomas Croal, Oskar White, A J King,Chris Tong and Will Munro.

Replacements- Sam Adcock, Olly Davis (both used) and Jon Hill.

Talking straight after the match Geoff Sluman the Bridgwater and Albion director of rugby said: “I think the game was a typical derby game. It definitely was not a spectacle of flowing rugby. It was a really tight game with both sides cancelling each other out.

“There can be no doubt about the passion and the physicality of the game though - both sides gave it a darn good go. In such games you have just got to grind out your victories and that is what the Bridgy lads did.

“Personally, I am not really surprised with a win, our recent performances have been getting better week on week and it kind of felt like we were building to this. By the time tomorrow morning (Saturday) comes we will already be thinking about our next game though.”

He went on:“ The players have shown a great amount of desire - whilst the eighteen who represented us on Friday night should rightly be proud of how they played, this is a club result.

”The other lads who were pushing for places and the way we had a large turn out at training on Tuesday and Thursday from those guys to help the selected eighteen prepare are a credit to them too and they also made a key contribution. They have had fours days of rugby this week in training on Tuesday and Thursday, the game on Friday night and will play their own game on Saturday. That sort of commitment is what it takes and they willingly give it.

“We have to use the win to push on again now, I am really pleased for the players and the coaching team led by Carl Rimmer - who will hate that I have named him, but he has been working so hard for the team that mostly goes unseen by many.”

Sluman added: “The spectators always make our Friday night games against Pethy a great atmosphere and we did have a large crowd so I would like to thank all of the spectators, from both sides, for supporting local sport.”

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