NEWENT’s last home league game of the season saw the Green Army establish a comfortable lead before the visitors fought back to leave home fans glancing at their watches, reports SIMON BARKER. 

With Luke Williams injured and Fred Nottingham unavailable, the vacancy at hooker was filled by Tom Woodman with Dave Boon starting in Woodman’s usual berth on the tight head. 

The front row cover was provided by Quin Renouff-Preece, although in the event he ended up replacing Jack Devries in the second row.

Leo Oakey started at openside and Jacob Ivell on the wing, Josh Preston moving to the replacements as Sam Allford kept the starting berth at scrum-half.

Playing up the slope and into a north-easterly wind, Ivell quickly opened the scoring coming off the opposite wing to get on the end of some slick handling, with Webb adding the conversion (7-0).

Trowbridge were quickly back on level terms as Newent were penalised as No 8 Rory Murchison powered over from close range with the try converted (7-7).

But Newent responded, as Ivell leapt acrobatically to claim Webb’s restart and a Will Hartland back-of-the-hand pass put Brooks over in the left-hand corner (12-7). 

No 8 Ben Vincent then picked up from the base of the scrum in his own 22 and broke into space before passing to Allford who outpaced the defence to touch down behind the posts for a try-of-the-season contender, the conversion making it 19-7.

Hartland then sold several dummies to cross under the posts for the bonus-point try, converted by Webb (26-7). 

But Trowbridge prop Austin Reid then rumbled over from close range to make it 26-14 at the break.

Ross Webb replaced the injured Vincent at the break, and Newent were back scoring almost immediately, as a driving maul surged over the line and second-row stalwart Matt Henry emerged holding the ball for his first try for the senior XV, Webb converting for 33-14.

But Trowbridge’s full back Olly Shrubb then broke free and fed Rory Murchison to cross to cut the gap (33-19). And Alex Murchison next crossed for their bonus-point try to make it 33-26.

The force was with the visitors now, but the Newent pack managed to hold up the ball in a drive over the line. And in a game-changing moment Newent’s replacement scrum-half Josh Preston intercepted and raced clear to touch down (38-26).

A Bridge maul was next collapsed close to the line and referee Steve McQuitty signalled a penalty try, binning Ben Kindred (38-33).

Newent’s left winger Brookes had the final word though, pouncing on a fumble from a chip through to acrobatically touch down the ball just before it ran dead, the extras completing the scoring.

Ross-on-Wye RFC’s game at Gordon League was cancelled, but they host Cheltenham Saracens this Saturday (March 4).