We fight on...
Newton Abbot 28 – Lydney 7
Lydney faced a rampant Newton Abbot side for this re-arranged away league fixture, cancelled the previous week because of a waterlogged pitch.
For the first 20 minutes, high flying Newton Abbot had the better of the early exchanges as they pinned Lydney back on their own line with some “bludgeoning” forward play. The size & strength of the home pack unsettled the Lydney eight but the visitors remained optimistic and resolute as they fought hard to try and score their first away win of the season.
In the opening ten minutes, after having been awarded a penalty, Newton Abbot found a way through the strong Lydney defence and crossed over under the posts for their first try scored by scrum half Will Castleton. The easy conversion made by fly half Rob Avery-Wright gave the home side a 7 - 0 lead.
As the game restarted, the visitors made several strong attacks and almost scored in the corner but the referee judged the ball to have been marginally knocked forward. This gave Newton Abbot the opportunity to re- group and clear their line. Fifteen minutes before half time, the Lydney coaching staff, Committee representatives and players became incensed by an “eye gouging" incident inflicted on a Lydney player but unsighted by the referee. This incident led to a free for all “brawl” involving almost every player on the pitch. After the referee managed to regain control – the tension between the two sides gradually dispersed. This event disheartened the Severnsiders who found it even more difficult to re-establish their defiant & determined levels of resilience witnessed in recent games.
After 35 minutes of play the home team scored a further penalty by Avery–Wright making the score line 10 – 0. With a few minutes remaining before the interval, Lydney conceded a "yellow card” after full back Tai Lakabuka was sin binned for an infringement. A multitude of debatable decisions ensued against Lydney and this appeared to set the pattern for the rest of the game. With 14 men on the field, it was no surprise when Newton Abbot went further ahead scoring their second try by No 8 Jarryd Harris - with Avery- Wright adding the conversion.
Half Time Score 17 – 0
As the second half resumed, Lydney regained their composure and mounted a spirited attack deep into Newton Abbot territory. With one player still in the dugout, the 14 man Lydney outfit pounded the Newton Abbot defence before flanker Harry Brown barged over for a try with centre Josh Dunn adding the conversion. With the score line now at 17 – 7,the home team sensed their opponents could be heading for a revival and swiftly applied even greater pressure on their visitors resulting in another penalty for the Devonshire “All Whites” with Avery – Wright adding a further three points making the score line 20 – 7.
Tai Lakabuka re- joined his team mates giving Lydney their full complement of players. Lydney continued to work hard and would not give up.Unfortunately,their woes continued when the referee judged a further infringement and awarded Newton Abbot another penalty scored by Avery – Wright increasing their lead to 23 – 7. With 10 minutes remaining, the home team scored their third try making the final score 28 – 7.
This bruising encounter identified, clearly, that ball possession is paramount in order to win games. The Severnsiders' had their fair share of the ball but were unable to dominate their strong running opponents. Moreover, an impartial spectator would agree there were few differences between the ability of these two sides – only their positions in the league table and the score line, in no way, was a true reflection of the away team’s desire to take the winning points.
Report by Gerald Love