Newton Abbot “All Whites” arrested a run of defeats with a no frills win at Weston-super-Mare.
When the two sides met back in September at Rackerhayes the promoted Somerset outfit were beaten 54-5 and although Newton have had a generally settled side since, last Saturday’s team sheet showed eleven different personnel compared to the first encounter. Victory at Weston was based around a solid defence and a strong pack performance with No. 8 Jarryd Harris being named as “man of the match”.
Missing from the line-up was player/coach
Matt Jess who is in the early stages of recovery from a broken cheek bone sustained late in the Bournemouth defeat. However, Jess will be happy to have seen his side win for the first time in four starts and impressed with his stand-in at centre Cameron Fogden, who played alongside Kevin Dennis, who had a strong game, particularly in defence. Another to show up well was flanker Max Wright who made the most of his opportunity from the bench having been promoted from the Spartans. He came on for the injured Luke Mingo after 32 minutes.
The home side took a 12th minute lead via full back Harry Jones who looked dangerous throughout. Newton then pressured Weston’s line and patiently went through the phases before prop Tom White plunged over from short range.
Full-back Rob Avery-Wright converted and then added a penalty to put the visitors 10-5 up at the break.
Within a couple of minutes of the resumption, Newton flanker BJ Chapman saw yellow for a deliberate knock-on, but Newton held firm for that 10 minutes only to concede a penalty – kicked by home fly-half James McKay – when back to a full complement.
That was as close as it got as a brace of penalties around the hour mark from Rob Avery-Wrightput his side just out of reach. This much needed win for the “All Whites” was given added value when results elsewhere came through. Bournemouth, who went into the 14th round of games level on points with Newton, could only manage a 17-all result at Bracknell and another of the chasers, Maidenhead, lost 33-14 at Cleve.
The “All Whites” went into the Christmas break in second place, 12 points behind Dings Crusaders who will now take some catching. Newton are in second, at the top of a group of five sides who are separated by only 6 points; intriguingly Newton have away dates with the other four. South West Premier action returns on 6th January when eighth placed Camborne are the visitors. In the meantime, the traditional Boxing Day match will take place between a Club XV and the Exiles.