SOUTH WEST PREMIER
Newton Abbot 34 – Bracknell 43
Newton Abbot “All Whites” run of defeats was extended to six when Bracknell – who lost the earlier fixture 67-12 back in September – outplayed the home side.
The difference between two teams, who were both eager to run the ball, was retention and accuracy – Bracknell were better at both and took advantage of some sloppy passing to run in two interception tries which proved crucial to the outcome.
Newton saw little of the ball over the opening 10 minutes but then, still with limited possession, blitzed into a 17-nil lead.
Bracknell were turned over in midfield, No 8 Jarryd Harris
– who had yet another strong game – carried well before neatly offloading to Kyle Browne
. The speedy winger weaved his way through the first line of defence and sped past the cover defence to score the first of what was going to be a hat-trick.
Immediately from the restart, Bracknell conceded a penalty that was kicked to the corner. A well-rehearsed lineout move saw Harris scoring at the corner flag.
Another training ground move, this one by the backs off a centre-field scrum, put Browne through the narrowest of gaps on his way to his second. Fly-half Rob Avery-Wright
converted both Browne tries for a comfortable lead.
Bracknell however showed they had some moves of their own when scoring a try via full back Gabriel Hills, who finished off a three-quarter move. This was the start of a comeback that started on 25 minutes and ended 22 minutes later with the visitors 24-17 ahead.
Experienced No. 8 Chris Halaufia scored twice before the break, Hills went in for his second early in the second half and fly half Vic Hardwicke booted over two conversions to establish the 7-point lead.
An Avery-Wright penalty cut this deficit before an end to end bout of open rugby ended in favour of Bracknell with an unconverted try for centre Ben Sanderson.
Then came a pivotal moment, Newton went close one end before the visitors scored at the other end.
Newton broke from deep, with second rower Luke Mingo
showing good speed from 22 to 22, and went through the phases but lacked patience with only 5 metres to go. Hills intercepted and ran the length to complete his hat-trick. The conversion from Hardwicke opened up a 16 point lead with only 10 minutes remaining.
When Browne – later named as Peplows man of the match – notched up his third try and Avery-Wright converted Newton showed renewed ambition. However another promising attack was snuffed out by Bracknell’s centre Peceli Nalamauuto who intercepted a loopy pass and ran in from 60 metres to put the result beyond doubt.
Newton still had another try in them; however, it proved irrelevant as the final whistle went after Avery Wright had converted Josh Smith
Victory for Bracknell moved the Berkshire based club up from eighth to fifth, one spot behind Newton, who dropped from third.
Any sort of win for the “All Whites” tomorrow when they take on Newbury at Rackerhayes (k.o. 2.30pm) will be good enough to secure third spot which would be their best ever finish at this level.
An interesting game could unfold as Newbury, who are currently in the third demotion spot, could get past Exmouth depending on what happens at the Imperial Ground where Camborne are the visitors.