Newbury Blues 18 Old Patesians 27
BLUES were handed a dose of their own medicine a South West One East leaders Patesians closed their ranks and sucked up almost everything the home side had to offer to claim maximum points.
Those points, plus Maidenhead’s haul from a 68-22 mauling of Oxford Harlequins, mean that Blues are now eight points adrift of the top pair heading towards the halfway mark in the campaign.
It was not only Patesians’ defensive prowess that took them home happy on Saturday, but Blues’ own defensive failing coming at the worst possible time.
Sloppy early tackling might have brought more than a penalty miss before Nick Wackwitz out-scored Luke Offa two to one to give Blues the lead, and it looked as if that shaky spell was seen off as Kyle Doel muscled in for a converted try to give Blues a 13-8 lead.
But the game was turned around before the break as early replacement James Gahan waltzed into the corner and then added a second try on the stroke of half-time, both converted by Offa.
Blues spent the third quarter of the game camped around the visitors 22, throwing away at least two good chances and emerging with not a single point before Patesians first raid ended with Gahan running home his third try.
Josh Winfield touched down to raise hopes of something better for the hosts, especially with Patesians reduced to 14 men, but the superbly organised Cheltenham side resisted firmly and were ultimately full value for their five point haul as Blues produced ther first blank of the season.
Newbury Blues: T. Thorne; Walker, Bartlett, Love, Fitcher; Wackwitz, Pigott; Hicks, Drysdale, G. Stewart; Bastable, Doel; Winfield, D. Stewart, Jones,. Reps: Robinson-Slater, Spanswick, Pearce.
Old Patesians: Booth; Spurmen, Aherne, Harrod, Verden; Offam Osaki; Saunders, Dean, Thompson; Evans, Stevens; Angell, Goggin, Aldritt. Reps: Panting, Howes, Gahan.