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Cloud hangs over Kelham Road


Newark Rugby Club host Birkenhead Park tomorrow (3pm) in the first round of the National Trophy after a troubled period where the Kelham Road club have been at the centre of a wrangle following the league match at home to Ampthill two weeks ago.

League officials are set to order a replay because the game, which ended in an 18-15 win for Newark, finished with uncontested scrums.

To compound the argument over complex regulations, Newark have been docked two points for fielding an unregistered player in substitute Jon Webster.

Newark officials are now planning to appeal against the decision, believing it is unfair for a club to be docked points from a game that has been declared null and void.

League officials deemed the match to be abandoned after consulting the rule book over uncontested scrums. Coaches and players finished the match unaware that the game against Ampthill had caused such controversy.

Most believed that the result would stand because in high-profile games a similar situation has often occurred and the result has stood. However, in the amateur game regulations are different from the top end.

At Midlands Two East level, teams only have to cover for the first injury to a front-row player. If on the second or subsequent occasion the match goes to uncontested scrums, it can be declared null and void.

Webster, Newark’s player of the year two seasons ago, was de-registered in the summer because of his intended move to Vancouver that has subsequently been delayed.

He was called up late after an injury and club officials forgot to check the registration list.

The wrangle has ruined Newark’s start to the season and has meant the team has fallen from fourth place in the table to ninth.

The campaign continued on Saturday when Ed Collishaw’s team earned a 14-14 draw at third-placed Dunstable with tries from Matt Brewer and three Danny Coen penalties.

Loughborough 21 - Newark 2nds 66

Newark 2nds gained control of a tough Pennant match only in the second half when their quick style of play paid off to enable the side to maintain their unbeaten record.

Wing David Walters and centre Sam Sibilski contributed three tries each while Alex Statham and Will Naylor registered two each, and Matt Clarke kicked 16 points.

Newark 3rds 27 - Skegness 29

Skegness proved too resilient for Newark 3rds at Kelham Road as the home team paid for slow starts to each half and needed a late try from number eight Daley Edwards — playing again after injury — to cut the deficit.

Other tries had come from Bryan Loftus (2) Toby Edlin and Ben Ennals, while Tom Lee added a conversion.

Newark 4ths 5 - Loughborough 25

A second-half try from Rhys Overland was the high point of a disappointing display from captain Martin Brown’s team, with the scrum-half nipping away from a set piece to surprise the visitors.

Other results, Newark Under-16s 17 (tries — George Stewart, Joe Tinsley, Leon Batterham; conv — Stewart), Mansfield 5.

Newark Under-15s 34 (tries — Devon Priestley 3, Scott Rose 3; conv — Matt Evans, Alex Hales), Mansfield 17.

Newark Under-13s 50 (tries — Will Lyon 4, Keegan Monteiro 2, Jake Turner, Will Cleasby; conv — Ben Dixon 5) Spalding 8.

Ollerton 2nds 36 - Dronfield 11

Ollerton came from behind to win with tries from Eric Cranmer (2) Dan Marrows 2) Martin Burton and Paul Etherington, and three conversions from Marrows.

Southwell 1sts 17 - Boston 40

High-flying Boston were the visitors to Park Lane on Saturday as one of only two teams with a unbeaten record so far in Midlands Four East, and it was always going to be an uphill task for the Redmen.

Despite an improved second half perfomance, a disorganised first half display allowed a well-drilled Boston side to score at will.

The home points came from two Ryan Burbidge tries and two conversions and penalty by Paul Rich.

Boston 24 - Southwell 2nds 19

Skipper Nigel McHale led his merry band of Reapers to Boston and they did themselves proud despite losing 24-19.

New player Joe Creed stood out once again at centre with a strong performance and was justly rewarded when he broke free to score the first try of his career. There were also two tries from Malc Hazard and two conversions from Ashley Robertshaw.

Southwell 3rds 26 - Keyworth 24

Southwell 3rds enjoyed their first run-out of the season, and while dressing room claims of “champagne rugby” might be exaggerated, it was at least Cava class.

The game saw the return of fly-half Mickey Saunders and scrum-half Lee Rhoades, and some free-flowing rugby was rewarded with tries from Dave Munn, Dan Moss, Lawrence Weaver and Richard Drinkwater, plus three conversions from the boot of Saunders.

Bourne 0 - Southwell U-15s 54

Man of the match Oli Hayes displayed an almost perfect example of place-kicking to contribute to a Southwell win that demonstrated the potential of this emerging side.

It is some testament to the kicking and passing exhibited by the Southwell fly-half that he got the referee’s choice of man of the match ahead of the five-try Red Oakley whose pace, acceleration and change of direction were too much for the Bourne side to handle, with fear filling their eyes every time he received the ball at outside centre.

Jack Beard showed why he has got into the county squad with two tries, there was one for Luke Waterfield, and Hayes added seven conversions as the side warmed up in style for their match against Derby this weekend.

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