NEWTON ABBOT 41 – WORCESTER WANDERERS 8
By NewtonAbbot People | Tuesday, February 04, 2014, 12:14
SSE NATIONAL THREE SOUTH & WEST
Last Saturday’s match was significant in many ways, the “All Whites” played their first home match of 2014, notched up a sixth successive win, avenged the 25-17 defeat at Worcester Wanderers earlier in the season and moved into the top half of the table ahead of Devon rivals Barnstaple.
Enabling the match to go ahead was down to a group of fork wielding volunteers aided by a water vacuum, but the other achievements were entirely due to a half of exciting rugby that saw Newton surge into a 31-nil half time lead, gleaning a bonus point along the way.
The second half was far more even as the visitors, with the wind behind, tightened their defence to limit the home side to only one additional try – but what a gem that turned out to be.
Newton had earlier made the perfect start with a move initiated by a skilful catch by captain Dean Avery. He reached high to pluck a loose Worcester clearance kick out of the air and a couple of rucks later the ball was moved right to put Josh Smith over the line. The talented full-back added the extras for a 7-nil lead after only five minutes.
Fly half Laurence May then looked to have scored at the corner flag, but referee Simon Lane had another opinion; however May was soon creating a try. Newton ran back a Worcester “22” drop out, May made the break before putting centre Kevin Dennis in for a try.
The two packs were more or less evenly matched, but it was in the backs where Newton had the match winners, especially in open play where the gaps were spotted and exploited.
Dennis provided the next try; he flung a speculative long pass to his right, the ball was neatly gathered by winger Alipate Laulau who showed his pace to score in Clubhouse corner. Smith, who had missed the second conversion, saw his third attempt bounce back off the posts with his touchline kick.
At Old Pats the bonus point try came after 20 minutes, this time round it took 10 minutes longer and again it was the “All Whites” potent backline that profited.
A counter-attack down the left, led by Smith, created space for the supporting Matt Newman who finished off under the posts for Smith to convert.
A minor bout of fisticuffs earned Avery and visiting lock Tim Ohlson a spell in the bin leading up to half time.
Laulau, who hails originally from Fiji and has recently broken into the 1st XV on the strength of 21 second team tries, scored his second with the last move of the opening half.
He showed his finishing qualities with another corner try, which this time Smith did convert for a 31-nil half-time advantage.
Worcester provided more of a challenge after the break, but apart from a penalty from fly half Tom Biggs, and a close range try for flanker Tom Dodge on the hour mark, didn’t look like getting back into the game.
The visitors penalty cancelled out Smith’s 50th minute effort and their try was matched by a spectacular one for Newton.
A long spell on Worcester’s line went unrewarded but when Newton attacked from their own “22” it was a different story.
The forwards turned the ball over under their own posts, winger Josh Davey, who had a really promising game, received the ball on the touchline in clubhouse corner. He set off downfield and 60 metres later with one man left to beat unselfishly passed to Dennis who scored his second under the posts; Smith added the extras and the “All Whites” were soon celebrating another victory.
Davey was named as the St Austell Brewery “man of the match”.
Revenge will also be in the players’ minds tomorrow for their trip to fifth placed Old Redcliffians. Newton led 17-8 in the home match and felt they should have gone on to win, but ended up on the wrong end of a 25 17 score-line as the Gloucester based side scored three late tries.
While the 1st XV head up the motorway, the Seconds are in home action where they welcome Torquay Extras.
DEVON MERIT ONE
NEWTON ABBOT II 13 – EXMOUTH II 5
Newton Abbot Seconds fielded one of their strongest line ups of the season and were rewarded with an excellent win over Exmouth’s second string.
After a run of three losses it was a welcome return to form, especially against one of the leading teams in the table.
Newton fielded Alex Posniak – a recent signing from Paignton – at prop, Alex Moore featured in the centre and back rower John Downey showed he was getting back to full fitness after a long lay-off by scoring one of Newton’s two tries. The other touchdown went to No.8 Ian Milton, both conversions were missed, but fly half Billy Massingham was able to put over a penalty.
The official Merit Table has Newton Seconds in third place, behind leaders Barnstaple and Exmouth.