BRIDPORT’S late fightback against Trowbridge was not enough to win their first pre-season game as the Blues eventually lost 26-19 to the Wiltshire side.

Underdogs Bridport matched their higher-league visitors in a thrilling contest that blooded some new and old players back into the club after 19 months with no rugby at the Brewery Ground.

A first-half try from forward Seb Phillips meant the game was close at the interval, whilst scores late on for backs Charlie Samways and Corbin Newman created a nail-biting finish with the possibility of saving a draw at the death.

Trowbridge would have taken the lead earlier in first half than they did if it was not for the last-ditch tackle of returning trawlerman Adam Vickery. The opposition wing looked certain to score in the corner before Vickery came across and cleared him into touch.

However, it would only be a few more minutes before the visitors had their first of four tries.

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The Blues were slow to react to a penalty conceded around halfway as Trowbridge took a quick tap and with one pass and some weak defence they were under the sticks for a quickly-converted try.

Not to be downhearted, the Blues bit back straight away. Trowbridge were unable to catch the kick-off and the resulting dominant scrum broke apart.

George Hussey collected the ball and charged off toward the try line. Losing control over the line, second-row Phillips was at hand to drop on the ball to score his first and easiest try for Bridport.

With Mitch Waters and Nathan Herbert off the pitch with injuries, the conversion was left to Newman to take possibly his first-ever kick off the tee. Wise words from the now water carrier Waters were not enough to get the ball over and it remained 7-5 to the visitors at half-time.

The opening 20 minutes of the second half featured a few too many errors for the Blues.

Within no time at all the home side had conceded another three tries and looked dead and buried at 26-5 down.

The return to the pitch of some of Bridport’s old guard, including Liam Poole, Rob Sullivan and Pete Phillips gave the Blues some much needed thrust.

Relentless carrying finally saw the home team back at the opposition’s try line.

Quick ball came out to debutant Samways and the hot stepper quickly bound his way through four men in the defence to get over the line, the returning Waters landing the conversion for 26-12.

Now lifted, the Blues kept the opposition camped in their own half before conceding a penalty.

A weak point previously in the match, this time Bridport were back in defence ready for the quick tap, allowing Newman to intercept a pass and run in unopposed from 30 meters for 26-19.

Bridport’s best passage of play in the game came at the death. With Trowbridge on their line defending for their lives, the Blues won penalty after penalty as they looked to equalize.

With the opposition on the ropes, Trowbridge were spared by a number of refereeing decisions.

Despite the final result, Bridport will take pride in their performance and will look to improve against visiting London-based team Barnet Elizabethans on Saturday (3pm).