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Odds defied for trophy triumph


Newark Rugby Club overcame the odds on Sunday to win their first Three Counties Cup in 18 years.

Newark’s 1st XV defeated Scunthorpe 27-18 to secure the first of a possible senior double, with the final of the Notts Cup to follow next month against Nottingham club Paviors.

Newark, the underdogs going into the match, had a 20-3 lead early in the second half after tries from hooker Ben Spokes, centre Matt Brewer and wing Aloesi Waqalevu.

Scunthorpe scored twice to cut the deficit to 20-18 before Brewer’s second try in the closing stages secured Newark’s victory.

“I think we were more determined and better prepared all round,” said coach Bob Fowkes.

Fowkes had made some difficult decisions leading up to the final, including putting Brewer at centre rather than his normal position of flanker, which meant long-serving colleague Martin Brummitt had to be content with a place on the bench.

Newark had been strengthened by the return of flanker Charlie Claydon and Waqalevu on the wing, though their return was offset by the withdrawal before the game of Michael Dobson due to illness.

His place went to Will Nelson, a recruit from Nottingham only six weeks ago.

Newark started so confidently that they scored two tries within nine minutes.

The first from Spokes, after a forward drive in the opening minute, and then Brewer demonstrating his pace and strength by stopping an attack before kicking on to grab the touch down.

Captain Danny Coen failed to improve the tries but made up for it when he landed a penalty goal in the 24th minute.

Scunthorpe settled their opening nerves with a penalty from Tim Robinson.

Newark struck again straight after half-time when Waqalevu burst clear after Brewer had counter-attacked from deep after fielding a clearance.

A little luck also helped because his hurried flip pass fell neatly into the arms of Richard Byrom before the full-back linked to the wing.

Waqalevu touched down under the posts giving Danny Coen the chance of an easy conversion to put Newark 20-3 ahead.

Scunthorpe controlled the next 20 minutes, scoring two tries through wing Rewiti Viamoso and prop Richard Tomlinson.

Scunthorpe failed to level the match by missing the conversion of the second try.

Newark defended bravely and started to gain the upper hand in the set piece.

It gave Newark the impetus to finish on top and they took their last chance when Brewer again disrupted the opposing midfield to break clear from near halfway.

Danny Coen landed the conversion and Newark celebrated only their fourth triumph in the competition since it was re-organised in the early 1980s.

Newark’s cup-winning team: R. Byrom; A. Waqalevu, M. Brewer, E. Collishaw, M. Miller; W. Nelson, D. Coen; M. Barker, B. Spokes, B. Vidler, J. Evans, M. Staines, C. Coen, L. Cove, C. Claydon.

Subs: S. May for M. Barker; M. Barker for M. Staines.

Tries: Spokes, Brewer (2), Waqalevu. Conversions: D Coen (2). Penalty goal: Coen.

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