Camels need to improve for derby
Wadebridge Camels 27, Bridgwater & Albion 21
WADEBRIDGE Camels returned to winning ways after their shock defeat at lowly Chard with a hard-fought win over relegation-threatened Bridgwater and Albion.
The Cornishmen ground out the victory in very difficult playing conditions.
But they know they will have to play much better if they are to stand a chance of winning their derby match at third-place Camborne tomorrow (2.30pm).
Camels coach David Elston said: "Both teams tried to play rugby in conditions that encouraged kicking for position and waiting for the almost inevitable mistake they would dictate.
"We were able to give a rest to some players who deserved a break, while others took advantage of the opportunity to show how well they could play.
"I feel the team is probably only playing at 50 per cent at the moment, compared to the 80 per cent when we beat leaders North Petherton before Christmas, but Saturday was a marked improvement on the game at Chard as we try and regain some momentum."
Torrential rain an hour before kick-off left the Molesworth Field pitch in a sorry-looking state.
Camels played with a fair breeze behind them, and two excellent penalties by returning fly half Josh Taylor provided a deserved 6-0 lead after 25 minutes.
Just before half-time, another player back in action, skipper Sam Stone, scored a typical flanker's try, which was well converted by Taylor to make it 13-0 at the break.
Ten minutes into the second period, the visitors were awarded what the Camels felt was a bizarre penalty try.
Bridgwater put the ball into a scrum 15 metres from the Camels line that was wheeled, and it shot out, with Stone picking it up in open play, but he was called back, with Hampshire referee Ben Wiles marching under the posts for a penalty try, converted by full back Will Kerry, which left the home side baffled.
Camels responded well, with Ben Collings taking a pass from his back row colleague Gary Gynn to score a touchdown, again converted by Taylor, to restore the advantage to 20-7.
Bridgwater lost replacement scrum half Roger Drabble to a shoulder injury, and Taylor, who had a fine day with the boot for Wadebridge, suffered his only missed chance of the game with a penalty from 37 metres.
No.8 Gynn then found plenty of space to run in for Camels' third try, and once more Taylor provided the extras.
Camels rang the changes in the final quarter, and Albion responded by scoring two tries, through Christian Preece and Nick Francis, both converted by Kerry, to get them to within six points of their hosts.
Camels' cause was not helped after the first of these scores by losing Ben Scott to the sin-bin for tackling the visiting scrum half without retreating ten metres.
However, Wadebridge hung on in the mud for an important victory and will look to repeat the trick against the Cherry and Whites.
Wadebridge: Pengelly, Rowe, Johns, Lees, D Hawkey, Josh Taylor, A Collings, Treleaven, Ballard, Cinnamond, Lumb, Angwin, B Collings, Stone (capt), Gynn. Replacements all used: M Grubb, B Scott, Cotton.
Wadebridge: Tries: Stone, B Collings, Gynn; Cons: Taylor (3); Pens: Taylor (2).
Bridgwater: Tries: Penalty try, Preece, Francis; Cons: Kerry (3).
Yellow cards: Wadebridge: B Scott.