All Whites So Close
SSE NATIONAL THREE SOUTH & WEST
NEWTON ABBOT 14 – LYDNEY 16
Newton Abbot “All Whites” out-scored Lydney two tries to one and came desperately close to upsetting the odds before the visitors notched up their 17th win of a dominant campaign.
It was during the last 10 minutes that the League leaders really demonstrated why they are top and more than likely to go back up at the first time of asking.
Trailing 14-9 with time running out, Lydney patiently went through the phases from a catch a drive lineout to put second row forward Dave Bennett over for a try to level the game, leaving impressive full-back Tony Wicks, with his simplest kick of the afternoon, to win the game.
Minutes later their scrambled defence made sure they held on to win, Newton’s fly half Laurence May broke down the wing from half way before cutting inside towards the posts. Having already beaten half a dozen defenders he was eventually hauled down 10 metres out; the resultant ruck ended in a penalty for the visitors who gratefully cleared their lines and ran the clock down to the final whistle.
In order to get to so close to Lydney the Newton players put in a tremendous display. Against the wind in the first half Newton defended extremely well, restricting Lydney to just a pair of Wicks’ penalties.
The first came after 10 minutes of early relentless pressure and the second approaching the break. A third right on the half-time whistle was turned down in favour of a catch and drive lineout.
However, Newton defended this threat to go into the turnaround only six points adrift, but soon after the resumption led. Where Lydney couldn’t, Newton did; executing a catch and drive lineout to put player coach Colin Stewart over for try. May converted superbly from wide.
Wicks’ third penalty – a 40 metre effort into the wind – put his side back in front by two points, but pressure on Lydney’s line bore fruit again.
Successive penalties had referee Simon lane reaching for a yellow card for visiting second rower Jimmy Roberts.
Again, the “All Whites” catch and drove, this time putting lock Matt Templeman over for a try, expertly converted by May for a 14-9 lead with less than a quarter of the game left.
Newton held this lead until the 74th minute when rare pressure saw their line breached for the one and only time in the game.
In spite of defeat, the “All Whites” showed they could compete with the best in the League and proved that their 45-26 win over second placed Bracknell was no fluke.
Match day sponsors E & JW Glendinning named the home captain, Dean Avery, as their “man of the match”.
As a consequence of this set-back, their first after a run of six wins, and Barnstaple’s defeat of Brixham, Newton have dropped back to eighth. However, with games in hand over all but one of the seven Clubs above, Newton now feel they can push on over the remainder of the campaign and finish as high as fourth.
Their quest resumes tomorrow at Weston-Super-Mare where the visitors will be keen to gain revenge for the controversial 13-12 home defeat in the earlier clash. Newton played most of that match with only fourteen men thanks to a red card for flanker for Jason Keenan who was cleared of any wrong-doing at a subsequent disciplinary hearing.
The home action will be supplied by the Second XV who take on Crediton in a Devon Merit One match (KO 2.30pm). The Colts will be at Exeter Chiefs for the second leg of their Devon Cup quarter-final tie, the Newton lads were unable to take their chances in the first leg last Saturday as they went down 22 nil at Homers Lane.