South West Premier League
Newbury Blues 12
With both Brixham and Newbury hovering above the relegation battle, this was a must-win game for both. Despite the previous day’s rain, the pitch was in good shape and the travelling Blues fans made for a good atmosphere in a game that produced a tense finish.
The Fishermen were forced to dig deep and hold their nerves in the 10 minutes of added time to close out the win.
Early pressure from Brixham tested the visitors’ defence and, with the former taking the lead when Tom Putt slotted a penalty goal after 12 minutes.
More pressure from the Brixham pack kept Newbury defending in their own 22, but the chances refused to be converted into points.
After a period of pressure, Brixham eventually got over the try line when centre Connor Bedwell ran through a gap to touch down. Putt added the extras and later added a penalty for a 13-0 lead at the break.
By this time, Brixham had lost skipper Adam Thomas with a broken arm – he was replaced by Calum Smith.
The second half started with Brixham still on the front foot, but the Newbury defence was resilient. A number of penalty chances were spurned in the hope of securing larger spoils, but Putt took one to extend the lead.
As the second period progressed, the Blues used the slope to greater advantage and with more of the ball started to test the Fishermen’s defences.
Halfway through the half, a try, unconverted, got Newbury on the board and buoyed their spirits. A fourth penalty from Putt gave Brixham a margin of safety, but there were still 10 minutes left on the clock.
Most of this time was spent by the Blues pounding at the Brixham defence and, with their pack getting on top, a penalty try was a suitable reward, giving them at least a losing bonus point.
With injury time still to be added, more was within their reach. Ten minutes remained on the ref’s watch, and for most of it Newbury were camped on the Brixham line.
The final act was a five-metre scrum to Newbury when Brixham offended. The ball should have been won by Newbury, but it emerged on the Brixham side, was cleared to touch and the final whistle blew.