Regional Two Midlands West

Newent 62-3 Berkswell & Balsall

Newent 1st XV racked up their biggest win of the season as they ran in 10 tries against bottom side Berkswell & Balsall, writes Simon Barker.

The visitors had a competitive pack and kept Newent to a single score for most of the first half, but once the dam was breached they struggled to cope with the pace and adventure of the hosts’ backs, who changed the game decisively with a four-try burst in a few minutes either side of half-time.

Newent opened the scoring on 11 minutes with a try from a penalty lineout deep in the 22, when No 8 Jack Devries peeled off the back of the driving maul to touch down in the left-hand corner.

Newent knocked on the restart to invite a period of pressures until Doug Long launched a counter-attack which took play back to the visitors’ 22.

Some lovely interplay between centre partners Will and Jim Hartland saw the latter touching down behind the posts, only to be called back for a forward pass earlier in the move.

A teasing kick from Tom Webb, well chased by Leo Oakey who had another storming game at openside, set up Newent’s next attacking opportunity.From a 5m scrum in front of the posts Webb looped round Will Hartland to create space for Long to cross unopposed. Webb’s conversion made it 12-0.

Newent’s fly half also played a pivotal role in the next two tries which followed in quick succession, both showcasing the pace of Jacob Ivell.

First Webb ran back a kick before finding Ivell on halfway and the left-wing streaked away to touch down behind the posts.

The next try was better still: from deep in his 22 Webb delivered a perfectly weighted crosskick which Ivell took at full pace wide on the left, without having to break stride, to touch down behind the posts again.

Webb’s conversion of this bonus-point try was the last play of the half for a 26-0 lead at the break.

Newent maintained their momentum with another fine try early in the second half, Jim Hartland touching down under the posts to complete a move which he had started with a penetrating run.

Ivell ran back another kick which failed to find touch, and the penalty for a deliberate knock on was kicked to the corner, the lineout secured and second row Phil Middlemiss at the heart of the driving maul claimed the try.

The visitors had a period of pressure, but Newent’s defence stood firm and eventually a turnover from Will Tanner launched a counter attack.

Oakey made good ground before quick ruck ball fed Long in a bit of space, which was all the full back needed to glide away from the defence.

It looked like he could have scored himself in the right-hand corner, but unselfishly he found Webb in support on his inside who touched down behind the posts before converting.

Long was also the provider for the next try, running back a kick from his own 22 and again splintering the defence before finding Jim Hartland for a free run to the posts. Webb’s conversion took the score to 52-0.

The ninth try arrived when another kick was run back from deep in Newent’s territory, this time by Webb. Long and Lo Oakey again made key incisions before more quick recycling gave prop forward Dave Boon the space to cross unopposed.

With the game entering stoppage time the Bs broke their duck through a smartly taken drop goal from fly half Oliver Eburne.

Webb’s deep restart put the pressure straight back on the visitors though and several phases later Will Hartland crossed for try number 10 to bring up the 60 points.

Ross lost out 67-7 away to Tewkesbury in Counties 3 Tribute, but will be hoping to bounce back at home to Minchinhampton on Saturday.