Lydney 21 – Newbury Blues 23
Hard luck – keep going Lydney
Report by Gerald Love
This home league defeat did not reflect what the Severnsiders deserved.
In the opening exchanges Lydney found themselves under pressure from a formidable Newbury pack who linked well with a strong running set of threes.
The Severnsiders eventually broke the deadlock with a good spell of inter passing and Steve Perry opened the scoring with a well taken try converted by fly half David O’Hagen. Immediately after the re-start Lydney applied further pressure on the Newbury line and could so easily have added a second try before the ball was knocked forward - much to the delight and relief of the visitors.
With a 7 – 0 score line remaining in Lydney’s favour, the visitors responded well with a bout of strong thrustful forward runs, bombarding the Lydney defence and stretching the home team to the limit. Eventually, and not surprisingly, Newbury found a way through to enable their full back Josh Bartlett to find their first touchdown. The Newbury No 10 Richard West glided the ball beautifully between the uprights from far out.
At 7 – 7 the game remained wide open with Lydney eager to get ahead but Newbury became equally resilient to remind the home team they were up for the challenge!
With 15 minutes remaining before the interval, the visitors camped themselves some 40 yards out from the Lydney line. Whilst there appeared to be no danger the Severnsiders were given a shock to the system and a reminder of the importance of staying alert as Newbury centre Rhys Davies picked up a loose ball at speed , crossing unopposed near to the uprights. This made the conversion easy for fly half Richard West leaving Lydney frustrated and bemused with the score line at 7 – 14.
With 10 minutes remaining before the interval, the Newbury outfit recognised Lydney were beginning to lose their way. The visitors gathered momentum and once more remained near the Lydney line until the referee awarded the visitors a doubtful penalty, admirably converted by the reliable Richard West.
As half time whistle approached, a series of last gasp defending prevented the visitors going further ahead and the Severnsiders found themselves a shade lucky to close the half time score at 7 – 17.
The second half resumed with a spirited Lydney attack and Newbury, on more than one occasion, were at last stretched to their defensive limits. The tenacity and spirit of the Lydney team enabled Steve Perry to cross the visitor’s line with an excellently taken try converted by fly Half David O’Hagen. With less than 20 minutes to go, the home team trailed 14 – 17 .A slight glimmer of optimism emerged from the vociferous Lydney crowd. Were they about to experience a dramatic victory before the clock ran out of time? This feeling of optimism did not last long as Newbury were awarded a penalty with a sending off and the Lydney ranks were reduced to 14 men! The formidable Newbury standoff Richard West added the penalty as Newbury went further ahead at 14 – 20.
Towards the end, the visitors were awarded their third and final penalty enabling them the distance they needed forcing Lydney to score twice before the finish. With no time left on the clock, Lydney re–grouped and, though outnumbered, rallied yet again before throwing everything into the challenge. Steve Perry crashed over before the final whistle & Dave O’Hagen, once again, added the conversion. As the tension at Regentsholme increased to a climax, at 21 – 23, it was always going to be too little too late.
Once again, the Lydney lads cannot be criticised for their lack of effort. The result gave little consolation to the Lydney faithful other than securing a last minute losers bonus point.Hopefully, 2018 will produce a few more wins from the Severnsiders (to move away from relegation, though difficult, is still very possible).They no doubt have already received the noble accolade as being one of the hardest working, if not THE hardest working team in the entire South West Premier League.