Whites boosted by two wins on the trot
NEWTON ABBOT may just have turned a corner if their 25-22 win over Redingensians is anything to go by.
The All Whites have been up one week and down the next since Christmas without stringing together a run of wins.
Back-to-back wins over Oxford Harlequins and now Redingensians may not seem a turning point, but director of rugby Roy Henderson thinks otherwise.
Newton are up to fourth in the table and Henderson says they go to Amersham this Saturday with renewed enthusiasm.
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"We still have some difficult matches left to play, but Redingensians was the best performance since the turn of the year," said Henderson.
"We can face each match with growing confidence and with players returning from injury it certainly looks a lot healthier than a few weeks ago."
Henderson said a sign that confidence was returning could be found in the way Newton beat the Rams.
"Despite the scoreline it was a comprehensive victory," said Henderson.
" Our forward dominance was the key with the driving maul outstanding, giving tries to Jason Keenan, Pete Mortimore and Alex Gayle.
"We scored four tries to a late penalty try by Redingensians, who kicked every opportunity.
"Our regular kicker was away and we missed three easy conversions and two penalties, which helped Redingensians to a flattering scoreline."
Henderson picked out debutant Luke Smith, newly rejoined from neighbours New Cross as his man of the match for a gutsy performance.
"Luke had a superb match despite popping out his shoulder in the first few minutes," said Henderson.
"Following attention from both physios he returned after 15 minutes to show that he has a great future."
Keenan opened the scoring for Newton with a try, then Kevin Dennis jabbed over a penalty.
Back came the Rams to lead 12-8 thanks to four Guy Swaddling penalties.
In a hectic climax to the first half, Newton went back in front when Mortimore was driven over in a maul, went behind to a fifth Swadling penalty then went back into the lead with a carbon-copy try from Mortimore.
Six minutes into the second session Newton prop Gale rumbled over and that was it until stoppage time when the Rams forced a penalty try under the bar which Swaddling converted.
SIDMOUTH agreed to travel with only 12 – Newton loanees making up the numbers – and battled throughout before losing 34-5.
Newton opened up with a try from Josh Tolan who appeared in midfield to run in under the posts. Prop Matt Dowrick demonstrated his strength to force his way over for Newton's second.
Tolan and Dowrick both went on to score again before replacement fly-half Jack Burford showed his class with an individual try and full-back Paul Hooper raced in from 50 metres for a touchdown with the last move of the match.
The two conversions were shared between Hooper and Alex Pugh.
Scrum half Andy Ash's hard work was rewarded with the man of the match accolade.
On Saturday the 2nd XV provide the entertainment at Rackerhayes when they welcome Cullompton II.