BRIDPORT staged an improved second-half show but went down 29-15 at Puddletown in their Tribute Dorset & Wilts One South clash.

For the second game in a row against higher-placed opposition the Blues on their second-half performance were worth a losing bonus point.

After a relatively one-sided first half their performance after half-time in terms of possession and defence enabled them to keep parity with Puddletown and they scored the try of the match to finally go down 29-15.

With only 17 players, avoiding injuries was the key and right from the kick-off the Puddletown forwards put down a marker and their giant number five was soon driving through the Blues’ defence to create an early score in the corner which was well converted.

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The Blues were again under pressure from the kick-off but were able to clear their lines thanks to some solid scrummaging after Puddletown knocked on.

After a quickly-taken Blues penalty Daragh McLoughlin broke over halfway but the ball was lost and Puddletown cleared long. From the resulting line-out they gained a turnover and their number five could not be stopped from close in.

From the kick-off the Blues spun the ball and an attempted kick through was knocked on. The strength of the Blues’ scrum was to the fore forcing a penalty. Mitch Waters’ goal attempt just drifted wide in the strong wind.

Bridport kept up the pressure and forced two more penalties but the wind again thwarted Waters as both well-struck kicks again just drifted wide.

The Blues were now getting some possession, forcing Puddletown into errors, and another clean break from Waters gave Jordan Neil a run but he was forced into touch on the 22. The Blues gained a line-out penalty which Waters finally converted.

Puddletown came straight back after a bad bounce from a Nathan Herbert kick eluded the Blues’ defence allowing them to break down the left side with backs and forwards combining well to force a score giving them a half-time lead of 17-3.

Bridport started the second half with good possession and a dominant scrum, often driving back the opponents to gain turnovers and penalties.

However, with some good moves coming off the dominant scrum with Leo Gurd linking well with his backs they were unable to break down a resolute Puddletown defence.

They should have scored when Jed Grenville made an excellent break into the 22 but ignored the overlap and in electing to take on the defence on his own was turned over on the line and penalised for holding on.

Puddletown made the Blues pay with some excellent interplay from their backs and ran in two tries in quick succession. The Blues did not give up and after some excellent defence kept out further attacks they were able to clear their lines with a long kick from Herbert.

They eventually got their reward for their second-half performance when Grenville redeemed himself by gathering a loose ball on the 22, drawing the forwards out wide and then beating the cover defence for pace to score under the posts.

In the final minutes of the game some excellent forward drives forced Puddletown onto the backfoot and the ball was whipped down the line with Herbert giving a superb offload to Stuart Burton to score in the corner.

Post-match, Bridport captain Andrew Livingston said: “Once again continuity of the team has let us down for an away game.

“For the majority of the game we were the stronger team, we simply let our opposition in with lapses in concentration.”

Bridport will to bounce back against local rivals Weymouth & Portland at the Brewery Ground on Saturday.