Saturday December 1
Midlands Two East North
Newark 3 Melbourne 22
Newark enjoyed plenty of possession and territory against league leaders Melbourne but ultimately ended up with not even a losing bonus point to show for their efforts.
A late try and conversion stretched Melbourne’s lead after Newark had fought valiantly to cut the deficit at 15-3 mid-way into the second half.
Newark competed on equal terms for large chunks of a match where their mistakes cost them valuable ground at crucial points.
An opening penalty goal from fly half Matt Cox put Newark ahead early on in the first half where they failed to take their chances.
After Melbourne had scored an opening try, Newark enjoyed their best period and were held up on their opponents line.
A big turning point came just before half-time when a Newark attack broke down and Melbourne mounted a quick counter-attack ending in their second try for a 10-3 half-time lead.
Newark enjoyed more advantage after half-time and engineered more attempts at push over tries from line-outs close-in. Cox also failed to land a long-range penalty.
Melbourne defended very effectively and scored a third try off a further counter-attack which started in their own half, the visitors cutting through the home line.
Newark came back to launch more attacks but the afternoon became more disappointing when Cox was red-carded for an offence at a ruck.
Despite finishing a man down, Newark had more frustration when lock Will Ellison was held up in another forward rush for the line.
Melbourne also finished a man short, following a sin binning, but found the pace to score a fourth try out wide which was converted.
Overall, a tough afternoon for the Newark squad who has had to handle injuries to lock Josh Witton and substitute forward Logan Watt.
Newark team: Hunter-Shaw; Pauvert, Britten (capt), Birch, Charles; Cox, Tweedie; Coulam, Chapple, Wells, Witton, Ellison, Williams, Duncan, Garland.
Subs: Himsworth, Watt, Overland.
Penalty goal: Cox.
Man of the match – Mason Coulam receives his prize from Edward Hine, match-day sponsor and organiser of the 1983-84 Cup-winning reunion.
Next League Match
Next Saturday: home to Southwell (league, kick off 3pm).