Newent suffer defeat at Clevedon
Green Army several notches down from their usual standard.
A lack lustre first half performance from Newent allowed Clevedon to run in 3 unanswered tries and effectively end the game as a contest. Newent rallied in the second period and restricted the hosts to a single try whilst scoring one themselves but it was too little too late.
Newent took the lead after 3 minutes when a break from Joe Goatley caused panic in the home team ranks and saw them concede a penalty which Goatley slotted from 35 minutes. Clevedon hit straight back from the restart when the visitors were penalised for not rolling away to level the scores.
Both teams looked to move the ball at every opportunity but handling errors were contributing to a very scrappy game. Newent were getting penalised mercilessly by the referee which gave Clevedon a distinct advantage and it was from yet another penalty that the hosts kicked into the corner and set up an attacking lineout from which they rolled over for their first try.
The visitors come back strongly towards the end of the half and from a penalty, Goatley pumped a huge 40 metre kick deep inside opposition territory to create a promising attacking opportunity. The long throw did not go to hand, allowing Clevedon to gather the loose ball and against the run of play they ran the length of the field to score near the posts and with the conversion, move into a 15-3 lead with 5 minutes remaining of the half.
This killer blow appeared to knock the stuffing out of Newent and with their defence found wanting they went further behind when a clinical Clevedon three-quarter move sliced them apart for the hosts third try and with the conversion sailing over the half time score was 22 - 3.
Just 2 minutes into the second half the speedy Clevedon three quarters took full advantage of a narrow Newent defence and moved the ball wide to the right for the winger to go over in the corner for the bonus point try. The difficult conversion slotted the uprights taking the score to 29 - 3 and with most of the period remaining Newent were staring down the barrel of an embarrassing and heavy defeat.
In fairness to them they showed real grit and character, something that was lacking in the first half, as they thwarted the creative home team backs time after time. Neither team could break the deadlock until a piece of magic from Newent No 8 Dan Fletcher saw him break several tackles to run from deep inside his own half to within a few metres of the try line before off loading to Will Mansfield to went over for his team’s first and only try of the game.
Newent can have no complaints about the final scoreline, coming off second best to a good Clevedon side who are heading for the playoffs. However, if they replicate the second half performance over the whole game, they will be quickly back to winning ways.
James Dean ( capt ), Ben Stevens, Will Mansfield, Charlie Gellert, Dominic Matthews, Joe Goatley, Gary Smeaton, Mason Emery, Mikey Addis, Chris Collcutt, Chris Gould, Toby Freeman, Fred Nottingham, George Phelps, Dan Fletcher. Subs (all used) Lee Barnes-Warren, Tom Brand, Tom Webb.
Newent scorers : Try - Mansfield, Pen. - Goatley