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Firsts fall at final hurdle


Newark Rugby Club and Nottinghamshire rivals Paviors had to settle for one victory each in the end-of-season county cup finale held at Mellish Rugby Club on Sunday.

Paviors 1sts won the main prize, the Notts senior cup, against Newark 1sts, through a powerful second-half performance in which they scored four tries to win 43-23.

But Newark 2nds had earlier lifted the Ron Rossin Shield for 2nd teams with a 19-14 win thanks to Johnny Statham’s late individual score.

Bob Fowkes, the club coach, felt that after a long season, the 1st team had gone one match too far in a campaign where they finished fourth in Midlands Two East and won the Notts, Lincs and Derbys Cup for the first time since 1990.

For full-back Richard Byrom and the two props, Ben Vidler and Micky Barker, the match may have been their last in senior colours.

All three are contemplating retirement from senior rugby and wanted to go out by helping to seal the club’s first cup double since 1988.

Though Newark led 18-17 early in the second half, Paviors found a higher gear in the hot conditions.

Newark had competed well in the first half and were only 15-17 down at half-time.

Aloesi Waqalevu touched down for the team’s first try, which captain Danny Coen converted for an early lead of 7-5, Paviors having scored first.

Paviors scored two more tries in the first half between a penalty by Coen and Newark’s second try when Byrom finished off a move.

When Coen put Newark clear early in the second half thoughts of a rare double rose, only for Paviors to dominate the next 20 minutes to build a convincing lead before Matt Cove, the substitute hooker, grabbed a consolation score.

The running power of Johnny Statham and David Fagan provided the individual moments to go alongside some wholehearted defence by Newark 2nds in their narrow win over Paviors.

Statham started the scoring through a try from an interception early in the first half and his pace took him clear of the Paviors defence again in the final quarter to seal victory in the Ron Rossin Shield.

Fagan scored in the closing minutes of the first half when he displayed a characteristic sidestep and jink to score the team’s second try.

Newark led 12-6 at the interval, after Paviors took the lead through two penalty goals.

Paviors enjoyed pressure early in the second half and led 14-12 after they scored their only try.

Newark then went clear again when Statham raced clear for a try that Fagan converted to bring up a 19-14 lead.

A tense finish included another excellent covering tackle, this time from Matt Clark, which kept Newark ahead.

The win completes a double for Alex Jackson’s team after the success in the Security Plus Notts Pennant for 2nd teams.

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