Down on the ground, but going up: Blues' Josh Love and Joe Pigott at the final whistle
Newbury Blues 25 Clevedon 22
BLUES lost the try count by three to one but 20 points from the boot of skipper Dan Thorne sealed Saturday’s South West One promotion showdown.
The clash between the respective East and West division runners-up became incredibly tight, but Blues looked like capitalising on a superior first half performance that saw them into a 19-7 interval lead, which was enough to stave off Clevedon’s second half rally.
Blues had an early try from Josh Love ruled out for a forward pass but they broke through a few minutes later when Harry Butland missed Joe Pigott’s kick and Jamie Futcher gathered the ball to win the race to touch down under the posts for skipper Thorne to convert.
He added a penalty, but Clevedon clawed their way back with prop Brian Largenton touching down for Kieran Hill to convert.
Blues looked the far more threatening side with the ball in hand, but it was the boot of Thorne that notched the points, nine of them to give Blues a decent lead to take into the second period.
There was soon little to rest upon however, as Joe Tucker touched down four minutes after the re-start with Hill’s extra points leaving five points between the teams.
Blues could never relax, but they could defend and worked their way forward enough to out-score the visitors by two penalties from Thorne to one from Hill before Clevedon mounted a late surge that saw Butland touch down.
Hill missed the kick, but there was no time for anything else other than for Blues to taste the joy of promotion for the first time in a decade, and a first-ever for most of the side..
Newbury Blues: T. Thorne; Golby-Barr, D. Thorne, Love, Futcher; Wackwitz, Pigott; G. Stewart, Drysdale, Macauley; Bastable, Doel; Jones, D. Stewart, Millar. Subs: Hicks, Spanswick, Davis, Pearce.
Clevedon: Thie; Butland, Maslen, R. Biggins, J. Tucker; Hill, Britten; Largentron, Honour, Bosley; Rawle, Foley; A. Davis, O. Biggins, Purcell. Subs: N. Tucker, C. Tucker, Trollope, Williams.