Newent Phoenix 27 Painwick 12

After narrow losses in the past four games, Newent Phoenix finally got the win they deserved.

Painswick kicked off from the town end into a mild breeze and were quickly into their stride, pushing the hosts back into their own half.

Good kicking by Newent No 10 Jacob Ivell pushed them back though, before strong running from Ben Kindred and Finlay Mellis tested the visitors’ defence.

Several long-range kicks to touch by Ivell, who also made some impressive tackles throughout the game, kept Painswick at bay, but the Cotswold outfit were edging the early phases of play and were kept out only by staunch Newent defence.

Indeed, Painswick got the ball over the Newent line only to be held up by the solid home defence.

But after winning several penalties, the visitors’ dominant lineout won the ball in the top right-hand corner and from there, several phases later, they scooped up a loose ball and Neil Churchill sliced through the defence near the posts for the first try of the afternoon, converted by Dominic Barnard.

This seemed to wake Newent up and after a nice kick out of defence by Ivell, followed a little later by a scything run by the fly-half, play was taken to the Painswick line where the scrambled defence managed to stop the advance over their own line.

Whilst Painswick had the edge in the lineout Newent held sway at scrum time with experienced operators Morgan Morris, hooker Anthony Powell and Luke Williams providing a solid base for the back five.

The home scrum wasn’t always well rewarded, however.

On one occasion, to the delight of the Tump spectators, they shoved the visitors pack back four metres.

However, they were adjudged to have swung the scrum around in doing so and were penalised for their troubles.

Painswick took play back into the Phoenix half and were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts which would have taken them 10 pts clear, but the kick sailed low and wide.

A big tackle by Jack Carpenter halted a promising attack by Painswick before a break by Ivell, carried on by the lively Mellis, went close to the visitors’ line but the Painswick defence held firm to deny the try that had seemed inevitable.

Newent were not to be denied for long however when great running by Ivell and Mellis ended with the former going over near the posts, and adding the extras for 7-7.

And an Ivell penalty completed the first half scoring to leave the hosts 10-7 to the good.

Newent started the second half in style, as the ball was palmed back from a lineout on the Painswick 22 toward the outstretched hands of Ivell, who somehow hung on to it, before slicing through the wrong-footed defence to touchdown just to the left of the posts.

For good measure, he also popped the ball between the posts to make it 17-7.

Then after some great running and passing by the pack, Painswick were forced to concede a penalty 22 metres out but right in front of the posts, which Ivell needed no invitation to convert for 20-7.

Painswick responded strongly and pushed Newent into their own 22 but Oakey snaffled the ball and made good ground before finding Ivell on his shoulder.

The fly-half scampered past a couple of would-be tacklers before passing to Carpenter who ran strongly into the visitors 22 where he found promising young scrum-half Reef Clair steaming up on his right.

Just short of the line, Clair managed to get his pass away but it didn’t quite go to hand for what might have been the Phoenix try of the season.

The visitors responded by attacking down the left wing and Dominic Barnard scored an excellent try in the corner to make it 20-12.

But from a play just inside the visitors’ half Ben Kindred next found the ball in his hands and carried strongly to outstrip the defence before scoring beside the posts, Ivell adding the extras to secure a 27-12 win.

Elsewhere Ross RFC won 20-13 at Cheltenham Saracens in a ‘tasty’ foot-of-the-table battle, with the game ended early by the ref after 60 minutes owing to poor light, but the result still awarded to the visitors as enough time was played.

The game was very physical with Casey Morgan and Chris Price scoring the Ross tries and the rest of the points coming from the boot of Thai Hayward.

Ross host Coney Hill this Saturday afternoon (December 3), while Newent 1st XV host Keynsham and the Phoenix travel to take on Drybrook 3rds.