Tribute South West One West
Cleve 37, Bridgwater & Albion 14
BRIDGWATER & Albion were unable to live with league leaders Cleve as they went down 37-14 in Bristol - once again hindered by injuries and unavailability, writes Tony Pomeroy.
Cleve dominated the first period as Bridgwater struggled to get out of their own half.
The opening score was a 30m penalty by home fly half, Joe Hall, after Bridgwater had infringed at a tackle.
A couple of minutes later, a good Bridgwater driving maul was halted illegally and fly half Stu Heal was narrowly wide with his 42m penalty attempt.
Home scrum half Nathan Huntley then extended the lead with the game's opening try as he spotted a gap and sprinted 40m for a try under the posts converted by Hall.
The hosts added a second a few minutes later as the Cleve skipper powered his way over from close range.
Cleve were reduced to 14 men after 26 minutes when centre Marcus Brooker was binned for foul play - and Bridgwater then had a couple of chances to score but each time were let down by their handling.
After having a try disallowed for a forward pass, Cleve added a third try when Huntley pounced on a loose ball to run in from 15 metres and head into half-time 22-0 up.
The second half was much more even as Bridgwater started with a different mindset, but this didn't stop Cleve sealing a bonus point when flanker Sam Gatehouse cruised 20 metres through the visiting defence Hall increased the home lead to 32-0 with a simple penalty, before Albion got themselves on the board with a try through Ollie Dunn - who burst through a number of attempted tackles and crashed over the home line near the posts. Heal converted easily.
Following another break from Dunn, the ball was recycled and reached Rob Allen who crossed for a try wide out on the left.
Heal converted with an excellent kick and Bridgwater began to believe they could gain something from the game.
With what appeared to be seven minutes left on the clock, Cleve made the game safe when winger, Mike Norman was put clear and scored an unconverted try in the corner.
Bridgwater will need to pick themselves up for next week's home game with Clevedon.
The North Somerset side crept above Bridgwater in the league following their home win over Wadebridge but victory for Bridgwater next week (January 18) will see Albion leapfrog their opponents again.
Cleve Tries: Huntley (2) Horman, Gatehouse, Norman Cons: Hall (3) Pens: Hall (2)
Bridgwater & Albion Tries: Dunn, Allen Cons: Heal (2)
Bridgwater Starting Team: Ashley Pippard, Garryn Basson, Rob Allen, Will Kerry, Sam Knights, Stu Heal, Roger Drabble (rep Jon Hill 48), James Bryant, Matt Hastie, Joe Bussell (rep Scott Woolford 48), Doug Page-Symonds, Matt Northey (rep Joe Stradling 52), Brian Webb, Ollie Dunn, Dan Kemmish (Capt)
Referee: Ian Hellier (Bristol Society)