[size=large] Saturday 16 February
Midlands Two East North
Newark 27 Loughborough 18
A whole-hearted team performance made sure Newark made up for the previous week’s loss at Long Eaton in this game at Kelham Road.
However, it needed a late try to keep Loughborough at bay for a victory which puts Newark into seventh place.
Newark gave a first league start to wing Toby Taylor while former first team captain Chris Tate made a welcome return off the bench.
Here Tim Barker reports on Newark’s eighth league win of the season.
In beautiful conditions at Kelham Road Newark got off to the perfect start with a converted try after 3 minutes following a concerted forward effort finishing in No 8 Dave Garland scoring. Matt Cox converted.
This didn’t last long as Loughborough moved the ball wide and their quick right winger went over to level the score at 7-7.
In a tight game the Newark forwards continued to dominate but an exchange of penalties kept the score at 10-10 with neither side able to break free.
Newark broke the deadlock moving towards half-time with another fine forward drive which saw several of the Newark backs lending their weight to the drive which ended in a try for hooker Jed Chapple.
Cox again converted to give Newark a 17-10 lead at half-time but given that they’d enjoyed the breeze and were going to turn round into a bright sun, the game was very much still in the balance.
Newark had suffered two nasty injuries which saw Jaymie Duncan leave the field with a leg injury and wing Connor Bice turned his ankle in a tackle.
Jason Matthysz went into the pack and ex-captain Chris Tate made a welcome return in the centre with Billy Charles moving out to his more customary position on the wing.
The visitors opened the scoring in the second half to reduce the deficit with an unconverted try 17-15.
Newark took the pragmatic decision to kick for goal when awarded a penalty 30 yards out and Cox duly obliged to extend their lead but frustratingly, Newark conceded a penalty almost immediately which Loughborough gratefully accepted to make it 20-18 with at least 20 minutes still to go.
Again, the Newark forwards were dominant with strong runs coming from Jordan Hempstead, man of the match Rory Williams and Ben Wells who had come on for the injured Dave Garland. Versatile Mason Coulam moved to the back row.
Neither side added to the scoreline until the game entered the last 5 minutes when again concerted effort by the Newark forwards saw them drive over close to the posts for a try by Chapple
Cox converted and Newark confidently ran the clock down to give the home side a deserved victory in front of a vociferous home crowd.
The win sees Newark move up one place to seventh, but only 4 points behind fourth-placed Ashbourne.
Newark are in knock-out action next Saturday (Feb 23), away to Stamford in the semi-final of the Notts, Lincs & Derbys Shield, kick off 2pm.
League action resumes on March 2 at Market Rasen.
Newark team v Loughborough: Hunter-Shaw; Bice, Charles, Britten, Taylor; Cox, Overland; Hempstead, Chapple, Coulam, Ellison, Williams, Watt, Duncan, Garland.
Subs: Wells, Matthysz, Tate.
Tries: Garland, Chapple (2),
Conversions: Cox (3).
Penalty goals: Cox (2).
MAN OF THE MATCH AWARD PRESENTED TO RORY WILLIAMS BY DAVE DUDDLES OF THE NAVIGATION