Newark Rugby Club 1sts find their form in 19-10 win over Dronfield in the Midlands Two East (North) Division
After defeating Southwell in their last game of 2018, Newark Rugby Club 1sts continued their winning run into the new year with a 19-10 victory over Dronfield at Kelham Road.
A determined and all-round team performance was they key behind Newark’s three tries to one victory, which moved them into eighth place in the Midlands Two East (North) Division.
Forwards Will Ellison and Lewis Himsworth went over for first-half tries and a further seven points midway through the second period were secured by scrum-half Rhys Overland and Matt Cox.
Newark started slowly and grew into the match, which was led by the experienced number eight Dave Garland and the younger legs of Himsworth and Mason Coulam.
Having conceded a converted try in the tenth minute, Newark were under pressure.
However, a fine catch off the re-start by flanker Jaymie Duncan gave Newark momentum which led to a try for lock Will Ellison off a line-out drive.
Cox stepped up to take the conversion and struck the upright as he pulled the hosts level.
After standing their ground and keeping a higher placed Dronfield side at bay, Newark continuously gained important ground through Cox’s line kicks, which led to a second try off another close-in line-out.
This time the move was not so planned as Himsworth grabbed a loose home throw to wrestle his way over, shrugging off Dronfield defenders on way to the line.
Cox again stepped up and converted as Newark took a 12-7 lead.
A penalty by Dronfield cut the lead to 12-10 just before half-time but Newark started the second-half with re-invigorated energy levels.
A forward charge almost brought a try for Ellison, before further Newark pressure produced a key moment as Overland scooted away off a scrum in the Dronfield 22 to score the third try.
Cox converted his hat-trick of coversions.
With Newark leading 19-10 in the 55th minute there were no further scores.
Dronfield pressed late on in search of at least a losing bonus point, but the Newark defence were settled and prevented a late fightback.
Newark continue the league campaign on Saturday at Ilkeston, with a scheduled 2.15pm kick-off.
Should fixtures go Newark’s way, they could rise as high as fourth.
With Newark 2nds not returning to action until they face Paviors 2nds on Saturday, it was a battle of the third’s on the first weekend of 2019.
Newark 3rds travelled to Arnold, Nottingham, to face Paviors 3rds, who provided a challenge, but ultimately, failed to match the physicality levels of a determined Newark side.
A high-scoring first-half saw Newark take a 33-12 lead into half-time.
The advantage was managed and maintained by Newark in the second-half as they added two further tries before winning 47-12.
Newark’s scores came from wing Connor Bice (2) scrum-half Tom Lee (2) number eight Alex Jackson, wing Josh Arundle and full-back Jono Marshall.
Marshall also kicked six successful coversions.
The 3rds are next in action on Saturday as they face Anstey in a friendly.
Southwell Rugby Club 1sts went into their home fixture against Loughborough in high spirits, having beaten Long Eaton in the last game before the Christmas break.
However, they were brought back down to earth as they lost 34-7 in the Midlands Two East (North) division.
There was promise to take from their performance, and a game against 11th-placed Ashby on Saturday is the perfect fixture for Southwell to regain their pre-Christmas form.
Elsewhere, Southwell 2nds continued their impressive run as they made it five wins a row after thumping a makeshift Casuals side 110-0.