All Blacks left with blues after All Whites defeat
NEWTON Abbot concluded their pre-season preparations at 1st XV level with a surprise 24-20 win over the Cornish All Blacks.
The Launceston outfit have their sights set on mounting a promotion push towards National One this season having finished seventh in National Two South last term.
On the evidence of their display the All Blacks still have some work to do.
Newton took their chances well and defended strongly when they had to in spite of playing a quarter of the match a man light as a consequence of a pair of yellows.
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Fly-half Lewis Ryan landed the first blow with a penalty and then improved a Kevin Dennis interception try for a 10-nil lead after 13 minutes.
A captain's try for lock Ben Hilton from a well-executed rolling maul, plus Keiron Lewitt's kick put the Cornishmen back in contention.
Centre Alex Moore became the first of Newton's yellow cards and whilst a man short the All Whites conceded another seven pointer, fly-half Lewis Webb gliding through the defence for a Levitt-converted try and a 14-10 lead
Within minutes winger Nick Holt rounded off a three-quarter move. Ryan landed the conversion to put Newton back in front again
Full back Levitt responded with a penalty of his own to level the scores at 17-all going into the turnaround.
The deadlock was soon broken after the break; home winger Eddie McGinley went in from distance after a promising visitors' attack broke down. Ryan converted.
Levitt cut the arrears with his second penalty of the afternoon but no further points came for either side over the last 15 minutes as Newton defended stoutly even when centre Pate Lualau was binned.
The All Whites, having won two out of three of their warm-up matches, including victory over a National Two side were deservedly pleased with their efforts, but also know it is what happens in National Three that really matters.
This Saturday a Newton Abbot Club XV take on Teignmouth in a trial match at Racherhayes, KO 2.30pm.
PAIGNTON go into Saturday's final pre-season friendly against Brixham at Astley Park encouraged by a 66-14 win over Totnes.
The Cherries were 12-5 losers in their opening warm-up game against New Cross, which was played in appalling conditions at Clennon Valley.
Paignton showed off some new players at Borough Park and they clearly made a difference.
Jacob Stirling at scrum-half scored a try hat-trick and with John Clare alongside him in the ten shirt the Cherries looked a lot more lively.
Paignton had a tough nine months last winter, losing players and the use of their pitch for nine weeks due to drainage problems.
Relegation from South West One finally claimed Paignton, who had parted company with coach Charlie Mahon and director of rugby Mark Beavis before the end of the campaign.
Mahon is back in rugby at Devon One side Topsham, where he is part of the coaching team.
Beavis has taken up a position with Exeter Chiefs coaching their colts.
Beavis was a successful colts' coach at Newton Abbot when he switched from playing so it is no surprise one of the big clubs has come in for him.
BRIXHAM's pre-season preparations were hindered when Chard cried off Saturday's planned practice match at Astley Park.
The Fishermen had a run out against Camborne the previous week and were looking forward to more game time.
The opening league game is against arch rivals Newton Abbot a week on Saturday and the Fishermen want to be in good shape for that one.
Brixham have a number of new players on board for the season ahead and were keen to give them game time.
Half-back Andy Sandercock has trodden the well-worn path from Paignton to Brixham.
Utility back Johnny Brown is a former Brixham player and his return from Torquay Athletic isn't that much of a surprise.
Torquay's mobile prop Russ Morris has been flirting with a move to Brixham for a year or two now and has finally gone.
Martin Browne, part of Brixham's promotion-winning team in 2011-12 has returned from working in London and rejoined his old club.