Coney Hill celebrate worthy win over Newbury Blues
Coney Hill 16
Newbury Blues 3
The two evenly-matched sides slugged it out in the first half of this South West One East match at Metz Way, writes Mike Wallace.
Coney Hill's much improved first-up tackling effectively shackled the lively Newbury Blues' backs with number eight Jordan Fowke, winger Joe Hamlin, centre Sean Felice and lock Paul Richards outstanding. Similarly, the visiting forwards initially contained the Hillmen's powerful forwards, especially pressuring Coney's faltering lineout.
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Both sides leaked penalties with the Blues' fly-half Toby Thorne drawing first blood and Coney full back Paddy Knight equalising just before the interval.
Coney Hill restarted in full cry. A break by open-side flanker Charlie Hinchman, carried on by fly-half Charlie Hubert, threatened the Newbury line but the final pass didn't go to hand. Minutes later a monster penalty of fully 40 metres by Knight increased the home advantage.
Newbury were dangerous on the break with the elusive Thorne setting up moves.
As the half wore on Coney upped the tempo, aided by a technical yellow card for Newbury full-back Tommy Martin, and laid siege to the Blues' line.
From the resulting tap penalty and forward drive prop Steve Price burrowed over to stretch the lead to 11-3.
The final quarter was all Coney Hill with Knight, Hubert and prop Adam Pettigrew breaking through Newbury's beleaguered defences in a series of penetrating runs down the left flank.
But the finishing didn't match the build-up and golden chances went begging.
In the dying moments a deft kick into Newbury's goal area led to a scramble for the touchdown, which was credited to Coney hooker Ryan Nicholls. The vigorously protesting Newbury players and Nicholls' amused smile as he trotted back suggested that for once Coney had won a fifty-fifty decision – the very least they deserved in a worthy win which at one time might have gone either way.
Referee: Phil Hallworth (Gloucester & District Society)
Star Players: For Coney Hill, full-back Paddy Knight whose scorching runs kept Coney on top.
Coney Hill: P. Knight; J. Hamlin (L. Morgan, 48) ; M. Whelan; S. Felice (L. Morgan, 18 – reversed 22); G. Bvuma; C. Hubert; C. Holder; S. Price; R. Nicholls; A. Pettigrew (J. Dix, 38); P. Richards; S. Ellacott; S. Rayer; C. Hinchman; J. Fowke (K. Lock, 64).
Newbury: T. Martin; J. Niven (L. Kinsey, 44); C. Cox; P. Simmons; J. Futcher; D. Thorne; J. Binfield; A. Millar; J. Love; T. Dyer (T. Seward, 22); T. Erskine; S. Codling; G. Stewart; R. Drysdale; B. Hicks (G. Slater, 64).