Game 2 of the RFU finals day saw another team from Gloucester – Newent lone up against Yarnbury from Horsforth, near Leeds. Newent were on familiar territory having won the Junior Vase last season; they arrived on the back of a 4th promotion in 5 years after an impressive league campaign seeing their try difference sit at 137 tries! That’s an immense effort; it would be interesting to see if they could keep up with their try fest during the final. Their opponents Yarnbury were making their first appearance at HQ, although their coach Bob Hood is a regular visitor being coach to England Counties U20’s. The 1st game had been very entertaining I was hoping for more of the same for the 2nd.
Newent had an early attacking opportunity and in spite of a knock on had won a penalty, Ross Webb stepped up to put 3 points on the scoreboard early on. The crowd although small were very vocal and ecstatic in the case of the Newent fans to see their team score early on. The first scrum saw a huge push by Newent, but Yarnbury came away with the ball, again a clean scrum. We had an early sin binning as Newent captain Tristan Veale was penalised for interfering. Yarnbury used their advantage and got a great rolling maul on as the attack progressed they were awarded a further penalty. Carl Paterson kicked to touch as Yarnbury looked to take advantage of the extra man, their resulting attack was foiled hower as Chris Flowers was taken into touch. Yarnbury won the Newent lineout but lost the ball as things got a bit mixed up after James Falgate got himself in a bit of a muddle (technical rugby speak!). Tristan Veale must have been a very relieved captain as he returned with no points having been scored, a testament to his teams’ defence.
Carl Paterson did add 3 points to bring his team level on 20 minutes after Newent were penalised for offside. Yarnbury kept up the pressure as Ellis Gomersall made a great run, he kicked the ball forward but Richard Merrett playing at fullback for Newent beat him to the ball and touched down. With 16 minutes of the half remaining the momentum was all with the team from Yorkshire. However Newent turned that round and went close to scoring through scrum half James Dean but the ball was knocked on; the same thing happened after another great attack, Dominic Matthews dropping the ball this time. Both teams had further attacking chances but were foiled by being penalised or knocked on. They went in at half time on 3 apiece, the 1st half had seen a lot of action in the middle of the field, we didn’t see the ball spread as it had been in the Junior Vase Final.
The 2nd half started for Newent much in the same way it had finished with a knock on, then some loose passing saw them going backwards rather than forwards in attack. They were given a great attacking position after Yarnbury threw a forward pass in their own 22. Newent won first the scrum , then a penalty as a Yarnbury player went into the ruck from the side; Ross Webb kicked successfully to put his team ahead for the 2nd time. That lead wasn’t to last long as a penalty was awarded to Yarnbury virtually straight from the kick off; Carl Paterson kicked a very challenging penalty to take the scores back to even. Newent went looking for a try but lost the ball as poor handling saw the ball knocked on. A blatant Yarnbury knock on in their own 22, ignored by the assistant referee was given by the referee, putting Newent into another great attacking position. This time they took full advantage as Joe Goatley scooted over the line; Paterson added the extras to take the score to Newent 13 Yarnbury 6. Yarnbury were penalised in the middle of the field for holding on again giving Newent a good attacking position. Barney Goatley took a very neat popped up pass, taking full advantage to match his brother to run in and score; Webb added the 2. The score with 10 minutes remaining was Newent 20 Yarnbury 6.
Newent looking for a further try kicked the ball on, but into touch; Yarnbury knocked on in the lineout. Newent won the scrum but kept moving towards the line ending in touch. This time Newent were penalised in the lineout, and a huge kick put Yarnbury in try scoring territory. Yarnbury attacked from the lineout, setting a great rolling maul into motion, James Barrett was deemed to have scored as the ball was touched down. Carl Paterson again showed his kicking credentials by again kicking a great conversion, closing the gap to a mere 7! Nails were I’m sure being bitten, but Newent weathered the closing moments and kicked the ball out after Yarnbury knocked on in their final attack to win the game – Newent RFC 20 Yarnbury RFC 13.
Another entertaining game, another trophy heading back to Gloucester, Newent are clearly a club going places after 2 straight wins at HQ. This time I spoke to the Yarnbury captain after the game Oliver Cashman – he said ‘It was a fantastic experience and a proud day for the club; the boys gave it their all, they soaked up a lot of pressure and put their bodies on the line’. I’m sure both teams will look back on their day at Twickenham and be proud, and also do all they can to return!