Newton Abbot miss out to Barnstaple again.
Newton Abbot had a real go in this game, but didn't quite have enough in the locker to overcome a very strong performance by their main rivals Barnstaple. Barnstaple started the stronger of the two sides, but neither team managed to create much penetration into their opponents half. Newton Abbot had the first opening, having moved the ball out of the ruck, the last pass was just a little wayward with the try line beckoning. In the tenth minute, Barnstaple started to really apply some pressure and got close to the All Whites try line, however, some over zealous rucking resulted in a penalty and Newton Abbot cleared the ball to half way from the penalty kick. Barnstaple, however, were the first to break the deadlock, from a ruck inside the Newton Abbot twenty two, they forced the ball forward with some strong forward play and touched down to score. Newton Abbot then started to apply some more pressure and from strong forward rucking managed to drive the ball some decent distance forward before Barnstaple were penalised for hands in the ruck. From the resultant penalty, Newton Abbot drove the ball forward and got extremely close to the Barnstaple try line, but eventually lost the ball. Newton Abbot were then undone with a stroke of luck for Barnstaple as Ed Brown lost the ball after an accidental clash of heads. The Barnstaple player in close proximity managed to pick up the ball and sprint down the line from inside his own half to score. Newton Abbot then went close yet again towards the end of the half but again a stubborn defence by Barnstaple stopped the All Whites short of the line.
Half Time - Newton Abbot 0 Barnstaple 10
The second half was much the same as the first half with both sides defending stoutly. Newton Abbot had the best of the opening exchanges, taking the ball close to the Barnstaple line. From the resultant ruck newton Abbot drove Barnstaple further back and got over the try line, only to have the ball held up. In the eighth minute, Barnstaple with some prolonged possession moved the ball out wide and eventually drove the ball over to score. This left Newton Abbot 0-17 down and in need of points. This arrived in the form of an excellent set move starting on Barum's twenty two. The ball was moved forward by Jack Butland who made in roads in to the defence. With players drawn in to cover, the ball was recycled quickly out wide to Corey Whane who touched down in the corner. This helped reduce the deficit to 5-17. With the clock ticking, and the constant pauses for injuries to Barnstaple players the flow of play in the last quarter of the game was badly affected. This did not help The All Whites maintain a decent tempo to the game. With time running out and Newton Abbot trying to chase the game, this was always going to leave some holes in the defence as they tried to close the gap. This led to two late tries for Barnstaple which gave them a score which flattered the performance. They deserved their victory, but the game was much closer than the score reflected.
Final Score - Newton Abbot 5 Barnstaple 29