BRIDPORT 13 OAKMEADIANS 17
BRIDPORT came agonisingly close to toppling high-flying Oak-meadians but ultimately had to settle for a losing bonus point at Brewery Field.
The Blues overcame the disappointment of their defeat to Sherborne, dominating their Dorset & Wilts One South clash with Oaks for large periods.
However, a crucial Oaks score in the last 10 minutes undid all of Bridport’s hard work.
Bridport bossed the scrums and their front row produced the performance of the season, with tight-head prop Justin Gurd giving a Palmers man of the match performance.
Unfortunately, the territorial advantage they made did not produce enough points to put them out of sight for a victory they deserved.
Rory Greening gave the home side the lead with a penalty only for Oaks to respond by pinning Bridport on their own line.
Bridport put more pressure on themselves with some poor tackling and bad kicking options, however, a further foray into the visitors’ 22 saw Tom Wicks feed Tom Fulliger for the game’s opening try.
It was converted by Greening and the Blues were 10-0 up after 30 minutes.
That advantage grew from the restart when Bridport went straight back on the attack and forced Oaks to concede a penalty, which Greening dispatched.
Persistent scrum infringements from the visitors eventually led to a yellow card, but the numerical advantage did not Bridport and, from broken play, it was the away side that crossed to make it 13-5 at half-time.
The second half started well for Bridport, but again they failed to take advantage and made poor decisions with ball in hand.
Oakmeadians were reduced to 14 for a second time for persistent indiscipline, and the hosts nearly scored when Greening broke through and Fulliger was stopped five metres short.
From the resulting scrum, Oakmeadians broke downfield and despite some great defence, their pressure told and they scored out wide to close the gap to 13-10.
Bridport’s opponents were now on top but the home defence held strong with Rob Parker fielding and clearing several kicks into his 22. The Blues had chances to increase the lead but couldn’t, and with the game in the final 10 minutes, Oaks made the most of a quick tap penalty to score a converted try under the posts.
There was a chance for Bridport to sneak it in the last few minutes. After being stopped five metres short, Mike Pibworth collected the resulting line-out, only for the referee to rule it had not gone the correct distance.
Bridport will look to pick themselves up when they visit Sherborne Seconds tomorrow (7pm), while Bridport Seconds, who had a walkover against Lytchett Minster Seconds last Saturday, are away to Bourne-mouth Fourths in Dorset & Wilts Four on Saturday (3pm).
n The Bridport clubhouse will be open on Sunday afternoon for the England-Wales game in the Six Nations.
n This Saturday, Bridport RFC holds its annual Schools Tag Festival at 9.30am, with 16 junior schools participating and the winners going on to represent West Dorset.
With more than 100 Year Six children taking part, it is an exciting competition for children, parents and spectators, with refreshments provided.