Bridport welcomed their second touring side, Barnet Elizabethans, who play in Hertfordshire & Middlesex 1, to the Brewery Ground. In an entertaining game, played as four 20 minute quarters, Bridport edged it 26-24 scoring a last minute converted try.
The opening exchanges were robust as both sides made telling tackles and Bridport were soon into the opponents 22 with good breaks from Daragh McLoughlin and Rob Sullivan but they couldn’t take advantage as Barnet turned the ball over and kicked deep into the Bridport 22; winning a turn over scrum.
After very good defence by Bridport, Barnet were able to create an overlap and score an unconverted try in the corner. From the kick off Barnet again kicked long and again good defence from Bridport kept Barnet out and they forced a penalty. However the resulting line out was not straight and from the scrum Barnet were able to drive over under the posts to take a 12-0 lead.
Again, from the kick off Barnet cleared long and, after a good clearing kick from Mitch Waters, Bridport were unfortunate to be penalised. Barnet couldn’t take advantage of their line out Bridport won a succession of penalties and drove into Barnet’s 22 but were unable to break a solid defence. Barnet offended again and the Bridport forwards drove Dan Butler over with the conversion from Mitch Waters.
The second quarter started like the first with Bridport making a quick break through McLoughlin but again couldn’t capitalise and after conceding a series of penalties taken quickly by Barnet they were able to exploit the blindside and again score in the corner for a 17-7 lead.
Bridport were now starting to put the Barnet scrum under pressure but they were able to clear their lines. Bridport kept up the pressure forcing Barnet into errors and from a forward pass in their own 22 Bridport took full advantage from a strong scrum with Charlie Samways showing a superb dummy to break the defence and score under the posts. Half time 17-14.
As the number of injuries started to increase the third quarter was very stop start but was dominated by Bridport forcing Barnet into a number of long clearing kicks. Bridport domination in the scrum was now starting to force Barnet into conceding penalties and desperate defence was keeping the Bridport forwards out as on several occasions they were inches short from scoring their third try. They missed a golden opportunity when having spun the ball wide, Waters who was
having a solid game, spurned an overlap and was held up just short of the line.
The injury toll on the Barnet players was now beginning to tell and at the start of the fourth quarter the game went to uncontested scrums with Bridport player Seb Phillips swapping shirts and both sides playing with 14 men. Despite this Barnet took full advantage of poor Bridport defending from the kick off to race down the touch line, rounding the last Bridport player to score under the post and a ten point lead.
After a period of loose play by both sides Bridport gained a penalty and an excellent kick by Waters gave Bridport a 5 metre line out. From the resulting catch and drive the forwards drove Hugh Vivien over in the corner for an unconverted try.
Bridport now had their tails up in search for the winning score. Charlie Samways was almost clean through but his offload was unfortunately knocked on. Bridport gained a turnover and when Barnet conceded successive penalties in their 22, Bridport took full advantage of the uncontested scrums with Andrew Livingston driving over with the last play of the match. Mitch Waters kept his cool to kick the winning conversion.