Report by Gordon Hooper
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In a chaotic game littered with injuries and yellow cards, Newton took full advantage – especially in the first half – of the home side’s inability to retain possession.
Bridgwater tried to run out of defence but when the ball went loose on their left, visiting winger Joel Clarke reacted quickly to run in for a fifth minute, under the posts, try.
The Somerset side gathered the restart well but poor mid-field handling cost them a second try – centre Steve Ward the beneficiary of this error.
Fly half Rob Avery Wright slotted both conversions before improving a Pete Mortimore try, the No. 8 – who went on to have an influential game – crossed from a close in lineout.
There was no looking back for Newton after this great start – 21 points in ten minutes. The bonus point try followed in the 20th minute, young hooker Rob Taverner – in the starting line-up for his first time – finished off a bout of interplay between the backs and forwards.
Two more tries followed before the break; full back Josh Smith latched onto a neat kick through for his score and giant lock Colin Stewart found himself with a bit of space and the line close by to cross in the seventh minute of first half injury time.
In between these tries, Josh Clark – brother of Joel – came on to replace Ward and the home hooker Matt Hastie received a yellow card.
It was Newton’s turn to be under pressure in the second half as Bridgwater put together a strong spell, rewarded with two tries in 10 minutes whilst up against only 14 – Josh Clarke binned for an alleged high tackle.
Home prop Joe Busssel was hustled over the line by his pack from a catch and drive lineout and his threes showed that they could safely transfer the ball along the line by putting captain Sam Osborne over after the centre had looped around full back Nick Francis.
As Clark returned, lock Matt Templeman found himself having a rest for a lineout offence.
Once back to full strength, Newton went on to dominate the last quarter with Mortimore at the heart of the action.
He combined well with Joel Clark who burst clear to score his second under the bar. Next it was Mortimore – later named man of the match – who doubled up, forcing his way over from short range off the back of a close in scrum.
These tries were separated by one of the more bizarre moments of the match. Hastie looked to be heading for a second yellow, an inevitable red, but the referee instead waved the card at lock Ben Harvey who was far from impressed at this case of mistaken identity.
This win moved Newton back into sixth place above Old Patesians who lost 48-8 to league leaders Bournemouth. The Cheltenham based club is where the “All Whites” conclude their season on 21st April. The last home game is against promotion chasing Chinnor the previous week.
The Easter action is centred around a fifteen-a-side Veterans tournament, which takes place on Saturday.