THIS game played on Saturday, December 7 was the first ever encounter between the two clubs and it turned out to be something of a thriller!

For the neutral it was a thoroughly entertaining game but for the more partisan support it became as nerve-wracking as it could possibly be, and the result could have gone either way right up to the final whistle.

We had a comfortable lead of 14-0 at the interval and, to be honest were good value for that as Newent had not seriously threatened.

An early opportunity came our way with a break down the right touchline from hooker Tom Luxmoore but he was forced into touch just before touching down.

However, the first try was not long in coming when we were awarded a penalty on the visitors “22” and centre Jason Luff took it quickly and chipped the ball over the defence for centre Devon Hosegood to collect and cross out wide. Ollie Avery-Wright converted from the touchline.

We were playing with intent and with a quarter of the game gone, the pressure was rewarded with a second try. Second row Josh Lee spotted a gap at the breakdown and went straight through the middle to score at the posts, Avery-Wright converted and almost landed a long-range penalty shortly after but his effort came back off the post.

There were no further scores before the break but we seemed relatively comfortable and for most observers a home win looked to be on the cards.

Whatever the Newent lads had at half-time certainly changed the game around and the second half was a completely different story!

Newent began the half as if lives depended on the outcome. Within minutes, they had turned over possession in their own half and broken clear down the left touchline, a pass inside to full-back Nathan Brooks who was on hand to finish off with a try which fly-half Tom Webb converted.

Their joy was short lived as pressure from our kick off caused them to knock on and from the resulting scrum, the ball went wide and Hosegood went over for his second of the day. Avery-Wright converted for 21-7.

Newent rallied and began to pile on the pressure and within minutes were level, firstly after several phases prop Nathan Awford went over, Webb converting and this was followed by a 50-metre dash up the right touchline by scrum half Sam Piper for an excellent solo try, again converted by Webb.

Visibly shaken, we were having difficulty regaining the composure that had seen us dominate the first period.

The pressure was relieved somewhat when Avery-Wright popped over a penalty but it certainly did not look as though that would be sufficient to earn the victory.

With 12 minutes remaining, a penalty to the corner followed by a driving maul from the lineout and it seemed we had scored although the referee felt that we had been held up over the line.

The resulting five-metre scrum ended with No 8 Will Goodman touching down after a gigantic effort from the forwards to take the visiting pack over their line. Avery-Wright converted leaving us two scores ahead and the bonus point try in the bag.

The last 12 minutes seemed an eternity and when we were reduced to 14 following a yellow card for George Savage who effectively took one for the team after a succession of penalties, things became increasingly difficult for a period although balance was restored when a Newent player also saw yellow.

Camped on our line for almost the entire remainder of the game we defended valiantly although eventually the defensive wall was breached when prop Charlie Short went over giving Webb a relatively simple kick which he duly put over and Newent were only three points behind.

Straight from the restart the visitors were back in our “22” and another penalty in front of the posts looked like earning them the draw that their comeback had deserved.

However, sensing an opportunity for victory, they opted for a tap and go, taking the gamble that there was a possibility of five points for the win as opposed to three points for the draw.

It nearly paid off as with the final play of the game, in near darkness, Newent broke through only for the ball to be lost forward over the try line. We had held our nerve, but only just!

Tomorrow, Saturday, December 14, we travel to bottom club Newton Abbot and once again the form book would imply that we should win, after all Newton have yet to win a game in the league this season.

However, it would be very foolish to allow any complacency to creep in and any thoughts that we simply have to turn up to take the points would in all honesty be ridiculous.

Despite a lack of success, the All Whites have been picking up losing bonus points and indeed were only seconds away from recording their first victory last week at Cleve (and look what happened to us up there).

Their first win of the season cannot be far away and it is down to us to ensure it does not come tomorrow.


All was going reasonably well for the Seconds at Ivybridge on their 4G pitch, we struggled a bit in the backs but had more than enough power in the forwards.

Unfortunately, the forward power proved too great for the home side and, somewhat conveniently, they were forced to go to non-contested scrums!

Any advantage we had was taken from us immediately which was hugely disappointing. It is funny sometimes how sides that are struggling up front during a game seem to get an abundance of injuries!


The Thirds were struggling for numbers but did manage to cobble a side together for the trip to Exmouth. The Cockles are always a strong outfit but we put in a good display and at times played some good rugby during an entertaining game.

Hayden Hill scored a try which he then converted.

Paul Harris