Brixham counting down to Newton derby tussle
BRIXHAM are looking forward to a relaxed end to the season now the serious stuff is over in National Three South West.
Last Saturday's 37-15 defeat by leaders London Irish Wild Geese left Brixham sixth in the table with four games to go.
Brixham have no match on Saturday but return to league action the following week at Maidenhead – who are certainties for relegation.
The other games to play are Malvern (H), Newton Abbot (A) and Old Patesians (H). If Newton win all four – and only Newton are above them – they could finish fourth or fifth in the table.
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"Newton is the big one for us as it is a derby and we owe them for winning 31-27 at our place," said Brixham's assistant coach Ian Morgan.
"It would be nice to finish our first season at this level in the top five, but if it's the top six I can live with that.
"At the start of the season there were people saying we would not survive following promotion – and I think we have proved them wrong.
"It has been tough – Weston (2nd), Exmouth (3rd) and London Irish in the space of a month is testing – but we can fell proud off what we have achieved.
"In what's left of the season we can experiment at bit and perhaps play a bit more of the running rugby that got us promoted?"
The first ten minutes against Irish saw the sides getting the measure of each other and it was Irish who were first to threaten the try line.
After a harsh decision put Brixham full-back Jamie Shone in the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on, Irish opened the scoring with a converted try and increased it five minutes later with a penalty.
Things swung Brixham's way when the Irish captain was yellow-carded after 22 minutes and Brixham got on the scoreboard from the resultant penalty.
Brixham remained in the ascendancy through the second quarter, scoring a converted try after 40 minutes to level the scores. Dylan Flashman touched down in spectacular fashion.
However, deep in first half injury time, the Irish right-wing Fraser Carlisle gave the Wild Geese the lead with a try at 15-10.
Brixham continued their good form at the start of the second half and were rewarded with a try after nine minutes when centre Matt Tichias went over in the corner to level the scores again.
That was as good as it got for the Fishermen. With their pack having the edge the Wild Geese were dominant.
A penalty put them back in the lead and a try increased the score to 25-15 midway through the half. Near the end, and in injury time, they added two more tries.
Brixham have no first team game this Saturday.
NEWTON Abbot have a week off to patch themselves up after the disappointment of losing at Amersham.
Injury and availability problems took a heavy toll on the All Whites' selection plans with a clutch of regulars ruled out.
Flank forward Jason Keenan found himself pressed into service at scrum-half in the absence of the Smith brothers and Matt Newman. Prop Alex Gale couldn't make it either and there was no Ben Cole at No.8.
Recent signing Marcus Garrett – attached to the Exeter Chiefs U18 squad – put in a storming display after being drafted into the back row to allow Keenan to play scrum-half.
A 31-7 running scoreline – Pete Mortimore crossing the line for Newton – hinted at a drubbing to come as the second half wore on.
The reality was that two tries from Keenan – both converted by Rob Avery-Wright – gave Newton a respectable defeat.
"In my opinion we were unlucky not to come away with a couple of bonus points," said Newton's director of rugby Roy Henderson.
"Having got back in the game we were pressing their line looking for a fourth try which would have been worth two points to us.
"Amersham pulled our maul down and I expected the referee to run in under the posts for a penalty try.
"It was a massive call by the referee and it cost us two points. One for the fourth try and the other for finishing within seven points. That's rugby though and you cannot dwell on it."
Newton have a rest this Saturday before taking on Avonmouth Old Boys the following Saturday at Rackerhayes.
The Seconds travel to Okehampton for a postponed Devon Merit match and the Colts provide the home action when they take on Devonport Sharks, kick off 2.30pm.
While the 1st XV were losing on their travels, the 2nd XV were facing a strong Cullompton second string who won a hard fought contest 22-nil.
Phil Burford, who has taken the 2nd XV under his wing, was pleased with the overall performance of the team.
"It was great to see three colts, Jack Mitchell, Mike Edworthy and Alex Davey playing who all did really well, but my man of the match was centre George Heath," said Burford.