Mon, 18 Dec 2017
Josh Bartlett - in for the opener
Lydney 21 Newbury Blues 23
BLUES may remain one place outside the South West Premier League drop zone, but they gave themselves breathing space to take into the new year.
A win on their return to action against Bracknell on January 6 would certainly lift any clouds, but Saturday’s result dispersed quite a few.
Blues started well and had Lydney pushed deep into their own half without result before the home side broke out with scrum half Steve Parry prominent and centre Josh Hannam went close before Lydney took a scrum in Blues’ danger zone and Parry broke to touch down with Dave O’Hagan converting.
Josh Bartlett nearly broke through in response, and although Lydney’s confidence grew up front, Blues looked dangerous breaking but could not break through until five minutes before the interval when they hit Lydney with a quickfire double.
Rhys Davies broke through before being held, but Blues drove on and the ball was sent out for Bartlett to crash through with Richard West converting from wide out.
Davies popped through from nowhere to dash in with West again on target, and he still had time to slot over a penalty to give his side a sudden 17-7 interval lead.
Blues sustained injuries to Davies and Adam Neal after the restart, and Parry’s second try and O’Hagan conversion soon cut the gap to three points, and it was touch and go thereafter in the cloying mud.
West’s perfect stretched the lead midway through the half, and he added another good strike after 71 minutes.
That proved to be just enough to survive Lydney’s late onslaught, led naturally by Parry, as he and O’Hagan added seven more points on the cusp of stoppage time to leave Blues grateful for the final whistle.
Newbury Blues: Bartlett; Pearce, D. Thorne, Davies, Fitcher; West, Hackett; Hicks, Drysdale, Macauley; Doel, Neal; Winfield, Spanswick, Millar. Subs: Johnston, Hayman, Segre.