Newark Seconds Beat Southwell Seconds, 6 Tries to 4
Hard-fought match sees Newark continue winning ways against the Redmen
This was the third meeting between these two local rivals in the 17/18 season and with honours equal going into this fixture, both had a point to prove, each fielding a strong side balanced between experience and youth.
Newark had the better of the opening exchanges despite the muddy and treacherous conditions, and the visitors found themselves increasingly under pressure from a highly disruptive set of Newark forwards hooking up with a skilled back line. Ten minutes in, a failed Southwell clearance allowed Burns to scorch up the right wing, connecting eventually with Fotheringham, who piled over to score the first of Newark’s 6 tries - 5-0.
Southwell responded immediately with a deep kick off which Newark opted to try and run, rather than clear, leaving an unlucky Seabrook to be isolated and stripped of the ball,and ultimately leading to a converted try for the visitors – 5-7.
Unfazed by the setback, the home side attacked fiercely from the restart and the ensuing dogfight, during which the ball changed hands several times, ended up with a lineout just inside the Southwell half. Bartsch - on target for the whole match - found the ever-reliable hands of Jason Matthysz, and quick ball from the resulting break down allowed the Newark backs to swing back into action, with James Stark touching down in the right hand corner to put the home side back into the lead, 10-7.
Joe Burns followed up in similar fashion minutes later, after a solid Newark scrum again allowed the irrepressible Findlay Tweedie at no. 9 to ship the ball down the line fast enough to get round a scrambling Southwell defence (17-7, conv. Seabrook).
For a while it looked as though the Boys in Blue might run away with the game, but the visitors stiffened their sinews and rumbled up the pitch in determined fashion, camping on the Newark line for the last 10 minutes of the half, finally going over in the left-hand corner after a heroic (but ultimately doomed) defensive effort by the home side – 17-12.
With the match still in the balance going into the break, coach Byrom got under the bonnet and tinkered with the game plan, looking for quicker ball from the breakdown and set piece to negate a well-oiled spoiling effort from the combative Southwell forwards.
This was to pay dividends almost immediately in the second period, when several quick phases allowed Sam Dobson, on for Seabrook, to touch down on the left – 22-12.
Unfortunately, it was also Dobson who unintentionally put the Newark truck into reverse, when he was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on shortly afterwards. With the home side reduced to 14 men, Southwell kicked for the corner, won the lineout and scored off a well-structured rolling maul – 22-19.
The visitors now had their tails up and with only 3 points in it, clearly sought to build on this, using their big men to try and batter through a stretched Newark defence. Newark were having none of it however, with Himsworth, Godfrey, Shine & co. putting in some ferocious tackling, and Southwell struggling to make any meaningful headway.
And with a full complement again, it was Newark who were to put the game away with two further scores, the first when a steal at the breakdown allowed Connor Slack to find a gap and sprint three quarters of the pitch to score a fine solo try (27-19); and the second when the home side opted for a penalty scrum on the Southwell line, shipped quick ball down the line to Ali Moss who touched down to stretch the lead to 32-19.
To their credit, Southwell came back with a well-worked score in the dying minutes of the game (32-24), but it was too little, too late to make a difference and Newark can congratulate themselves on a well-deserved 15 man victory over a physical and determined outfit.
Tries: David Fotheringham (1), James Stark (1), Joe Burns (1), Sam Dobson (1), Connor Slack (1), Alistair Moss (1)
Conversions: Josh Seabrook (1)