BRIDGWATER & Albion travel up the M5 to Gloucester on Saturday to play Matson RFC in their final South West One (W) fixture of the season, writes Richard Walsh.

Their hosts are in fourth place with 73 points from their 15 victories, while the Albion are ninth with 63 from 13 wins.

When the two sides met at College Way on the opening day of the season back in September, it was Albion who ran out 27-6 victors - however, head coach Simon Morrell knows his side face a tough game.

“This fixture sums up our season because it is a trip to play against a side near the top of the table with far from our full-strength team,” he said.

“We may be missing 10 or so of the strongest side, so this will be another test of character.

“In fairness to the boys, however, the one thing we have gained this season is the tenacity and positive mind set, irrespective of the team we are fielding, which will put us in good stead looking to next season. 

“However, the hope is we can go up and be competitive and everything is possible.

“This season we have won 13 games and, in truth, we have achieved that success with an average of eight players out through injury per match across the season.

“That’s very frustrating, especially when you think we could so easily have had four or five more wins.

“One good thing to come from this is the depth of the squad, which is brilliant; in fact, we probably only need to add a couple of more players for next year.

“We have spoken to all the players and it looks like everybody is going to stick with us next year, apart from Dan Kemmish, who needs to have time to relax at the end of the season, but we’d love to have him on board again in 2017-18.

“There are so many players we have been missing for most of the season - people like Rob Allen, Rob Thompson, Nick Bradley and John Hill.

“In addition, we are talking to a back row who we think will sign and a couple of others.

“Despite the frustrations caused by the injuries we have suffered, we are in a strong position because we have another five or six boys who have showed they can more than compete at this level, which is great news for us going forward.”

Though this weekend sees the last league fixture, the action is not over at College Way as Bridgwater & Albion’s home ground is set to host England Under-16s v Wales Under-16s on Sunday, April 30 (ko 2pm).

Steve Smith, chairman of Bridgwater & Albion, said: “We are overjoyed to hold this prestigious fixture and feel it is testament to the great facilities at the club.”