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Skipper leading by fine example


An injury-time penalty from captain Danny Coen ensured that the Newark Rugby Club 1st XV started their first league game of 2008 in the same winning ways of the old year.

Newark looked set for a comfortable win at Old Northamptonians only to allow a 16-3 lead to crumble to a one-point deficit as the Midlands Two East encounter entered stoppage time.

Coen, who had previously kicked three penalties and converted a try by wing Mark Miller, had already seen one late attempt slip by the posts when Newark missed another chance to snatch victory.

But with his second attempt the scrum-half landed the testing kick from the right-hand side of the 22-metre line to give Newark a 19-17 victory to keep the pressure on leaders Syston who lost 11-0 at home to Paviors.

Newark’s victory — their 11th of the campaign — leaves them second on points difference behind Syston, with the top two being chased by Kettering and Hinckley.

A number of changes had not helped Newark in the build-up to the game. Winger Martin Brummitt cried off on Friday evening because the birth of a daughter, while an ankle injury ruled out hooker Ben Spokes and lock Graham Chenoweth was unavailable.

The reshuffle forced prop Shaun May to partner Jon Evans at lock, while J.J. Connolly filled the gap left by Brummitt.

Newark started slowly and needed two Coen penalties to lead 6-3 at half-time. The Blue and Whites had also failed to take their opportunities in the opening half, particularly when flanker Matt Brewer burst clear alongside full-back Richard Byrom.

The visitors played their most controlled rugby at the start of the second half. After Coen had landed his third penalty, some enterprising play on the left by Connolly and centre Paul Cook turned loose possession into a try for Miller when he sprinted on to Cook’s crossfield kick to give Newark their only try of the match and Coen converted.

That left the Northampton team 16-3 down, but two excellent individual tries turned the match on its head and left the visitors needing the late penalty goal to save embarrassment.

Despite the sluggishness, there were some good performances. Centres Cook and Ed Collishaw were strong in defence while Evans, left on his own as a line-out jumper in the absence of Chenoweth, was a constant source of possession.

Newark now take a break from league rugby when they play at Moderns tomorrow in the quarter-final of the Notts, Lincs and Derbyshire Cup (2pm) with the winners to host Mansfield in the semi-finals.

League action returns a week tomorrow when Newark travel to Derby. The first home game of the year comes on January 26 when Paviors visit Kelham Road.

Nrthmptnians 42 - Newark 2nds 17

A slow start cost Newark 2nds at Old Northamptonians where the hosts scored two tries in the first ten minutes and that handed them the advantage for the rest of a club fixture that brought two tries from wing Johnny Statham and one from centre Will Naylor.

Statham raced in for his first try in the opening quarter before Naylor contributed an excellent individual effort where he broke three tackles to touch down for Newark’s second.

The visitors turned round 19-12 down and ran out of steam after they failed to convert pressure into points at the start of the second half. Statham scored his second try towards the end, while scrum-half Matt Clark added one conversion.

Market Rasen 29 - Newark 3rds 34

Newark 3rds needed to rely on their forwards at Market Rasen to preserve their unbeaten record after the home backs had the led way in the first half after an opening try from Tom Holmes.

Tries by wings Paul Ward and Neil Johnson kept Newark in touch until a second half penalty try gave Newark the advantage.

That was converted by centre Dan Harrison whose late penalty goal pushed his team further ahead, and he also kicked three conversions and an earlier penalty to maintain his team’s run of 17 unbeaten matches.

Newark 4ths 15 - Market Rasen 19

Tries by Jason Willis, Richard Macfarlane and Will Bunn kept Newark 4ths in a close game that was just edged in the end by Market Rasen.

Newark Minis

Newark Under-12s v Southwell W49-7 (tries — Will Lyon 3, Declan Hursthouse 2, Jac Beeby, Rupert Innes; conv — Harry Geach 7.

Newark Under-10s v Southwell L15-30 (tries — James Newman 2, Ryan Olowofela). v Southwell W42-5 (tries — Olowofela 3, Josh Latham, Henry Woodman, Josh Duggan).

Newark Under-9s Cavaliers v Southwell W25-0 (tries — Edward Poulson (2) Richard Irving, Joshua Alexander, Thomas Brogden). Roundheads v Southwell L20-25 (tries — George Gash 2 Matthew Walton, Harry Cunningham).

Newark Under-8 Gladiators v Southwell W30-5 (tries – Eli Gilder 2, Jago Onians 2, Joseph Burns, James Lockwood). Warriors v Southwell W45-0 (tries — Issac Ridley 2, Archie Warren 2, Richard Gibbs 2, Conor White, Thomas Guymer, Josh Beavis.

Kesteven 15 - Southwell 1sts 38

With two front rowers ill and the loss of Bill Richmond with an eye injury in the first quarter, the Redmen were forced to battle hard for their league points, but their efforts were rewarded with tries from skipper Nick Dunsworth (3) Alex Moore (2) and David Loughton, with Paul Rich adding four conversions.

Mellish 24 - Southwell 3rds 18

Paul Orgill’s troops have a strong team spirit and this showed as they battled their way throughout the match against much larger opposition, but they had to settle for tries from Andy Guy and Andre Jurkiw plus two penalties and a conversion from Paul Orgill.

Southwell Minis

Southwell Under-10s v Newark W30-15 (tries — Daniel Pearson 4, Joe Orgill, George Aylward). v Newark L5-30 (try — Pearson).

Southwell Under-9s v Newark L0-25. v Newark W25-20 (tries — Joe Shayler 3, Mikey Warner, Sam Smith).

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