Sat 21 Apr 2018, 15:00
South West Premier
Newbury Blues (12th) v Bournemouth (2nd)
Saturday, 21 April 2018, KO 3pm at Monks Lane
Result: Newbury Blues 10/2t2c2p v 17/2t2cp Bournemouth
HT: 10/tcp v 14/2t2c
Bournemouth failed to breakdown a stout Newbury defence
Bournemouth: Danny Kirkpatrick, Dan Stewart/t, Freddie Gleadowe, Scott Chislett, Alex Sutherland Grant Hancox/2cp, Sam Hardcastle, Tom Napier/t, Alan Manning, Luca Firetto, Mike Treloar, Jack Hennings, Richard Sharp, Alexander Bennett, Joe Rees/C. Substitutes: Pat Fraser, Adam MacDonald, Sam Palmer. Touch Judges: Gavin Fisher. DoR: Will Croker. Coach: Jon Sanchez. Medical Team: Andy Curtis and Steve Trapp. Man of the Match: Danny Kirkpatrick. Club League Career Records: Grant Hancox extends his own records to 117 penalty goals and 287 goals. Sam Hardcastle extends his own records to 320 starts (307 as scrum-half). Scott Chislett extends his own inside centre starts record to 185. (The President’s grandson says ‘I want be like Scott Chislett’). In the Season: Grant remains leading scorer now on 296 points (equaling the record set last season) with 66 conversions and 48 penalty goals (extending his own season record).
Referee: Zerren Bell. Referee Adviser: Anthony Swift.
Team Selection: Compared to the team that faced Newton Abbot last week, Alex Sutherland came off the bench to replace Alex Everett-Bolter in the backs. Tom Napier returned to replace the injured Joe Spiller at loosehead and Mike Treloar came off the bench to replace Conrad Carkeet at lock. The returning Adam MacDonald replaced Mike Treloar on the bench and Sam Palmer made his first 1st XV appearance since December 2014.
The weather was overcast but fine with little breeze. Underfoot the pitch was dry and looked in excellent nick.
Newbury (fly-half Ollie Milner) kicked off from left to right as viewed from the stand and to their left.
Bournemouth were promptly penalized on receiving the ball and Milner kicked his first points of the game from beyond the Bournemouth 10m and before we had time to draw breath Bournemouth were behind 0-3. Bournemouth had the chance to equalise when Newbury were penalized at the restart but Hancox pushed his effort across the face of the goal to leave the score 0-3 after less than five minutes play. From the drop-out Hancox fielded the ball and fed No 8 Joe Rees. The captain in turn fed Ali Bennet who made great inroads into Newbury territory with a slanting run left where Bournemouth were awarded a scrum inside the Newbury 22m. Referee Zerren Bell allowed advantage but came back to a Bournemouth penalty and Hancox found touch to his left 10 metres out from the Newbury line. Scrum-half Sam Hardcastle had a little dart and Bournemouth kept it tight as they tested the Newbury defence. When the ball was released right it was all very untidy but Hancox tidied up and slanted left. A chip into the dead-ball area saw Newbury get there first for another drop-out. Outside centre Freddie Gleadowe fielded the ball but was put under pressure by the Newbury chasers. Nonetheless he got the ball away right. When progress down that right channel was blocked off Bournemouth came back left where left wing Alex Sutherland was forced into touch but Newbury had been awarded a scrum for a forward pass. The scrum had to be reset but Newbury went left and kicked. Sutherland recovered the ball and Bell again initially played advantage but when none accrued Hancox found touch to his right on the half-way line. Bournemouth broke down that right touchline with forwards up in support to keep the movement going before Dan Stewart was put into space for the right winger to score a try, his fourth in four successive matches. From right of the post Hancox kicked the goal and Bournemouth led 7-3 after just over ten minutes play. Milner’s restart went ‘straight out’ for a Bournemouth scrum back. That advantage was promptly nullified when the Newbury shove turned the ball over and their dangerous threes promptly went on the offensive sweeping left and right before coming left they knocked on for a Bournemouth scrum inside their 22m. This time the scrum held firm and the ball went right where Bennett supported Stewart. Coming back left full-back Danny Kirkpatrick, much to the excitement of two young ladies in front of your correspondent, had a run with Bournemouth holding onto possession very well but Bell again was playing advantage and came back to a Bournemouth penalty. Hancox kicked left for a Bournemouth line-out outside the Newbury 22m. Bennett secured the ball and Bournemouth drove the ball. Hardcastle had a chip into the dead-ball area but again Bell came back to the original penalty. Hancox kicked left to press Newbury back to their 5m. The line-out was very untidy and Newbury recovered the ball and went left only to knock-on for a Bournemouth scrum on the 22m. Newbury were penalized at the scrum and Hardcastle took a quick penalty but was tackled just short of the line. However a fracas broke out as Bournemouth tried to support their scrum-half, Bell spoke to the captains and blindside flanker Richard Sharp was ‘yellow carded’ for his contribution to the proceedings. The upshot was Newbury were awarded a penalty and Milner was able to clear to his left for a Newbury throw-in outside their 10m line. Newbury initially drove off the line-out before releasing right. Full-back Josh Bartlett had a strong run as the ball came back left then right again stretching the Bournemouth defence. Nonetheless they managed to turn the ball over and went right through Kirkpatrick. Again Bell was playing advantage and came back to the original Newbury offence and Hancox was able to find touch to his left on the half-way line. Newbury ‘nicked’ the line-out ball and went left and back right with Bell again playing advantage the referee came back to the original Bournemouth offence of not ‘rolling away’. Milner found touch to his right on the Bournemouth 22m. It was Bournemouth’s turn to ‘nick’ the line-out ball albeit a little untidily and it was only a deft tap back by Hardcastle that found lock Jack Hennings that Bournemouth were able to retain possession under the Newbury pressure. Going right they kicked and Newbury ran it back but the Bournemouth defence was pretty solid perhaps inducing Milner to drop the ball as he looked to keep the movement going left. From a scrum on the half-way Bournemouth packed the ‘short side’ but to confuse the enemy went right down the openside. That was all a bit untidy and Stewart was obliged to tidy up. Newbury turned the ball over and threatened to attack right but were pulled back by Bell who ‘yellow carded’ hooker Robbie Drysdale for not using his arms in the tackle. Hancox found touch to his right on the Newbury 10m. Bournemouth drove off the line-out and when it was released left inside centre Scott Chislett came back right down the short side and tried to link with Bennett. The flanker was not able to hold on to the ball but, nonetheless, Bournemouth were awarded a scrum on the Newbury 22m as the two sides tried to secure the ball. Going right the ball was intercepted by Newbury and they immediately capitalized on the situation with another strong-running attack first left then back out right where inside centre Kris Ford proved to be an unstoppable force and duly scored just left of the posts. Milner needed no second bidding to kick the goal and Newbury had regained the lead at 10-7 with some five minutes of the half left. Bournemouth struck straight back at the restart. Newbury ran the ball back but were penalized. No 8 Joe Rees took the penalty quickly. Newbury had not retired 10 metres and Bournemouth kept them on the back foot by quickly releasing the ball right. Retaining the ball in impressive fashion the forwards worked very hard to keep things going. Notably Tom Napier was involved early in the move but the loosehead kept going in support and was there to finish off the move by scoring right of the posts, very reminiscent of his effort in the Hampshire Cup at Tottonians earlier in the season where his hamstrings were similarly tested. Hancox kicked his second goal and Bournemouth once again led at 14-10 with a couple of minutes of the half to go. Time enough for another promising Bournemouth attack but when just five or so metres short of the line were penalized for ‘crossing’ for Milner to clear left. Newbury attacked off the line-out but a knock-on brought the first half to a close.
Bournemouth restarted left and were awarded a scrum. Hardcastle was forced to tidy up at the base of the scrum but Sharp was there in support. The flanker slanted right and Stewart had a run but was forced into touch although Bournemouth were given the throw-in. The line-out was untidy and Newbury secured the ball, broke down the lefthand side where they chipped through for Hardcastle to drop on the ball. Newbury recovered and took play to the Bournemouth 22m where they were awarded a scrum. It was then noticed that Napier was being attended by the physio for what looked like a neck injury. He was forced to retire and Luca Firetto, who been replaced by Pat Fraser in the first half, came back on in his place. Newbury put the Bournemouth defence under enormous pressure as a result of this attacking scrum. Showing good ball retention they attacked left and right but the Bournemouth defence refused to give way. However a knock-on virtually on their own line gave Newbury the put-in on the 5m. Newbury drove but were forced into touch down their left-hand side. Bell had a word with Rees and rather than a line-out Newbury had a scrum. Uncertain whether that was Newbury’s option for a penalty. Whatever they drove and scored. No idea who scored but it must have been a forward. From wide out on the left, Milner kicked the goal and Newbury were back in the lead at 17-14 some fifteen minutes into the half. Newbury were back on the offensive straight from the restart when from a scrum outside the Bournemouth 10m they attacked first right then back left where a little chip through was touched down for a Bournemouth drop-out. Kirkpatrick went right where Gleadowe recovered the ball but Newbury were penalized. Hancox found touch to his left. The ball was secured, Bournemouth drove and Newbury were penalized for being offside Hancox again found touch to his left. Bennett secured the throw-in but as Bournemouth drove over the line they dropped the ball for a Newbury scrum to allow Milner to clear right. From the line-out on the Newbury 22m, Newbury were caught offside and from some five metres in from touch Hancox kicked a fine goal to level the scores at 17-all half-way through the half. Newbury struck back almost immediately with No 8 Alex Millar setting up an attacking move when he broke off the back of a scrum going right. The pressure on the Bournemouth defence was relentless but they got some relief when a pass right was forward. However Newbury turned the ball over at the scrum and Bournemouth were penalized for ‘holding on’. With a certain inevitability Milner put the Blues back in the lead at 20-17 and, may I say, ruined your correspondent’s forecast of the final score and the chance to secure untold riches. In the dying minutes of the game Bournemouth, try as they might, could not find a way through an immense Newbury defence. A breach might have been exploited when Bournemouth were awarded a penalty after some good work by Bennett taking play to just outside the Newbury 22m. However Hancox pulled his kick at goal across the face of the goal and Newbuiry’s lead remained intact. Milner’s drop-out went long, very long, and Sutherland fielded the ball just outside the Bournemouth 22m. The left winger ran it back as Bournemouth looked for that winning score but the ball was lost in the contact and a Newbury player had no hesitation in hoofing the ball off the park to bring the afternoon’s proceedings to an end.
Very disappointing not to have avenged the defeat on the opening day of the season but the Blues played as if their lives depended on it and were determined to keep their visitors out and of course to keep their hopes of survival alive. The upshot is that they are still in with a chance as they have to visit Newton Abbot next Saturday. Ironically the one side they can overtake, Exmouth, are also playing, in their case at home to Camborne. So it all goes down to the wire. As for us, we have a little thing of our own in the Channel Islands the same day. Never been to the Channel Islands. You are never too old to explore I say. What an end to the season but a reflection on how competitive it has been. Thank you to all of you who have supported us during the season. We hope you found the ride has been worthwhile and the reports not too boring. Does National 2 South beckon? Yes it does but we shall see.