A splendid second-half comeback.
The scores came thick and fast in the first half
Saturday November 10
Notts, Lincs Derbys Shield 2nd rd
Spalding 31 Newark 33
It may have been a case of all hands to the pumps at Spalding but the 13 men of Newark still standing at the end deserved success for a splendid second-half comeback.
Three injuries and two sin bins caused Newark plenty of problems in achieving a much-needed victory following five defeats on the bounce since mid-September.
A never-say-die attitude overturned a half-time deficit of 14-24 to lead 33-24 before a late penalty try from Spalding made for a tense finish on a wet afternoon.
Fly half Matt Cox returned after two weeks out to contribute 18 points including two tries and four conversions.
Newark’s other tries came from wing Guillaume Pauvert, back-rower Logan Watt and flanker-turned-wing Josh Brogden.
Brogden started in the back row but was quickly moved to the wing when Josh Watt went off early on. This kind of rejig had started beforehand when a late cry off meant substitute prop Mason Coulam started at centre.
Further injuries to captain Will Britten and flanker Tom Crosby plus sins bins for Coulam and Watt made for an ever-changing line up.
Jaymie Duncan took over from Watt and played a lead role in the pack to keep Newark on the attack alongside Cox and two other returning players in hooker Jed Chapple and Billy Charles.
This lead group were backed up by further first team appearances for prop Ben Wells and lock Josh Witton.
One snapshot as the second half finished in the gloom was Charles’ cheeky quick kick off which saw the scrum-half scramble possession back to himself to give Newark attacking momentum after conceding the penalty try to Spalding.
Newark supporters winced at the tactic but then quickly laughed at how the scrum-half won back possession to keep Spalding at bay.
After an early penalty miss by Cox, Spalding scored first before Newark played some bright rugby led by the fly half whose long pass helped put Pauvert in the clear.
The scores came thick and fast in the first half. Spalding replied quickly through a converted try before Cox got Newark back into the match by shooting through a gap for a score he improved.
That put Newark two points up at 14-12 only for Spalding to finish the half by grabbing two more tries as the bad weather kicked in.
Newark, 24-14 down at the break, started the second half a man down because of Coulam’s sin bin but they quickly grabbed the initiative to give supporters hope of a comeback.
A period of good pressure eventually brought a try for Watt in a forward charge which also brought a concussion injury for Crosby.
Cox missed the difficult conversion but the fly half’s persistence in attack paid off in the way he forced his way over for his second try which he converted.
That put Newark ahead again at 26-24 and a fifth try this time for Brogden, the team’s best of the match, stretched the lead after a magnificent counter-attack and support play.
Cox landed the conversion from near the touchline to put Newark 33-24 ahead, a lead which proved sufficient to withstand Spalding’s penalty try following a sin offence for Watt.
By that stage Newark were down on men because of injuries but the 13 still standing held out.
Next Saturday (Nov 17) – league match at Matlock, kick off 2.15pm.
Newark team: Hunter-Shaw; Pauvert, Coulam, Britten (capt), Watts; Cox, Charles; Himsworth, Chapple, Wells, Seage, Witton, Crosby, Watt, Brogden.
Subs: Bagga, Duncan.
Tries: Pauvert, Cox (2),Watt, Brogden.
Conversions: Cox (4).
Scoring sequence (Newark first): 0-5 Spalding try, 7-5 Pauvert try & Cox con, 7-12 Spalding try & con, 14-12 Cox try & con, 14-19 Spalding try & con, 14-24 Spalding try & con, half-time, 19-24 Watt try, 26-24 Cox try & con, 33-24 Brogden try & Cox con, 33-31 Spalding pen try & con.