Newark Seconds Beat Local Rivals Southwell, 6 Tries to 2
Gutsy performance by the Boys in Blue sends Redmen home to think again
On a crisp Saturday afternoon at the home of Newark Rugby, it was a determined set of players who marched onto the hallowed turf of pitch one at Kelham Road, after a drubbing against their guests from Southwell earlier in the season.
Southwell, clearly eager to pick up where they had left off after the last game, struck immediately with an accurate short kick off and charge by their forwards who ran straight through a scrambling defence, rapidly recycled from the ensuing ruck and scored in the left corner, 0-5.
Undeterred, Newark squared their shoulders and despite continuing early pressure from the visitors and conceding a couple of unnecessary penalties, began to work their way into the game. It was captain Moore who showed the way with a strong push up the right following some productive scavenging at the ruck by the Newark forwards, before finding touch on Southwell’s 22. After a knock-on in the line out, Newark won the ensuing scrum and fed the ball to fly half Stark, who found a yawning gap in the opposition line to score left of the posts, 7-5 (conv. Seabrook).
This was to herald a purple patch for Newark as they ran in three more tries in the next 25 minutes, with Newark’s scrum, dominant at the set piece throughout, providing a superb platform for a set of hungry backs. It was Stark who was to notch up the home side’s next score after one such scrum sent the ball down the line to put him over in the left corner, 12-5; 5 minutes later, a searing run by Watts after taking a quick penalty from a Southwell offside offence sent Seabrook over on the left (17-5); and Watts himself got his first soon after, jinking his way across the line by the posts following a bludgeoning run by Gibson at number 5 and some determined forward phase play (24-5, conv. Seabrook).
Southwell, clearly rattled, came back strongly and despite dogged defence by Fotheringham, Barnsdale and co. at the Newark line, managed to batter their way over on the right to score - 24-10. The home side found themselves further pressurised going into the break when Seabrook was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on, and Newark knew they had work to do if they were to maintain their ascendency in the second half.
With 14 men, Newark found themselves increasingly under the cosh during the first 20 minutes after half-time, and the penalty count mounted as they battled to keep the opposition away from their line. No sooner had Seabrook rejoined the game, than Fotheringham, otherwise excellent, was given his marching orders after the third high tackle in a row. Nonetheless, this was a massive defensive effort by the boys in blue, and the tide began to turn when hooker Godfrey held up a Southwell maul on the halfway line and the resulting scrum sent Watts streaking up the right wing for a magnificent solo try - 29-10.
With a full squad back on the pitch and an injection of fresh legs from the bench, Newark started to turn the screw again, with Hempstead and Himsworth making their presence felt and some excellent carrying by Poulson, who had been incisive all game, putting real pressure on a tiring Southwell side.
The coup de grace came after a lovely little dink over the visitors’ heads by Ali Moss led to finisher Burns bundling the Southwell receiver into touch. Despite an infringement by Newark at the resulting line out, Newark won the scrum that followed, and Jenkins sent the ball to the herculean Hempstead who obligingly barged his way over to touch down just right of the posts - 36-10 (Conv. Jenkins).
Overall, this was a much improved and more settled performance by the Newark side, who were dogged in defence and always looked dangerous in attack against a strong Southwell crew, despite the high penalty count taking the edge off in the middle of the game. Jenkins was sharp around the fringes of the scrum, the backs served up a great deal of intelligent play and the forwards rarely took a backwards step either in the set piece or in the loose. A well-deserved win.
Tries: Stark (2), Seabrook (1), Watts (2), Hempstead (1)
Conversions: Seabrook (2), Jenkins (1)
Man of the Match: Josh Watts