West Bridgford RFC looked to continue their unbeaten league campaign in round 7 of Midlands 1 when they welcomed local rivals Melton Mowbray RFC to The Memorial Ground.
Friday Night Lights always seems to attract an added interest and creates an exciting atmosphere and this was certainly the case on this mild Friday evening with by far the largest crowd of the season. As an added extra, the club were supporting the #wearitpink event in raising funds for breast cancer charity with half the gate money being donated.
The game kicked off promptly at 7:45pm and the action was fast and furious. Bridgford started their assault from the off and could have scored two tries early on, but handling errors and strong defence from Melton Mowbray prevented this from happening.
After 11 minutes and swift handling, full back Jay Heath went over to open the account for West Bridgford with the conversion added by Calum Gunn.
Following the re start, George Harris made a clumsy tackle mid air and received a yellow card for his efforts. This immediately buoyed Melton Mowbray and gave them a big advantage in a weakened scrum. Within minutes and following numerous incomplete scrums the referee had no alternative but to award a penalty try to Melton Mowbray and issue the second yellow card of the match to prop Steve Corban. 7:7
Melton started to dominate and were enjoying a 10 minute purple patch in which they scored another try following a rolling maul from a line out. The conversion was wayward so 7 : 12 to Melton.
Following a positive team chat under the posts by captain Calum Gunn, Bridgford immediately lifted their game and Melton failed to score another point from this point on. Within 2 mins on the 25 minute mark, Calum Gunn went under the posts and converted his own try to make the score 14 : 12 to Bridgford. The Bridgford back line were starting to enjoy quick ball from their forwards and slick handling created a hole for Alex Wilson to score out wide, Calum Gunn again adding the extras to take the score to 21:12 on the 32 minute mark. On the stroke of half time, hooker Ross Morgan squeezed over the line to take the score to 26 : 12 at half time but he took no further action in the game following a repeat shoulder injury whilst scoring.
The second half saw Melton Mowbray start strongly with continued assaults via their strong pack and continued to add pressure to the Bridgford scrum. Following a number of scrums and a subsequent collapsed scrum, prop Josh Salathiel sustained an injury which meant he was to take no further action. This meant that uncontested scrums came into play and Bridgford had to drop down to 14 players for the rest of the game.
Again, this saw a lift in performance in the Melton side with continued attacks on the Bridgford line, strong defence from Bridgford managed to keep the visitors from scoring. Following a quick tap penalty in the Bridgford 22 and strong running from backs and forwards, Calum Gunn ran in his second try of the game, he added the extras again to take the score to 31 : 12.
On the 68 minute mark, Natty Brisco benefited from close support play as he collected a pass from Luke Brown just short of the line to score on the far left of the pitch. Calum Gunn certainly had his kicking boots on as he again slotted the conversion. 38 : 12
Two more converted tries followed for Bridgford in the last 10 minutes for Ian Knott and Alex Wilson to take the final score to 54 : 12.
The night was a great success for the Bridgford team, but credit must be given to Melton Mowbray for providing a tough and very competitive game. Thank you also to all the Melton and Bridgford supporters for their generous contributions to the wear it pink event.
Bridgford travel away next week to Rugby Lions RFC.