Woodbridge Warriors battle against the odds but eventually succumb to Newmarket defeat
- Credit: Archant
Fourth-placed Woodbridge Warriors were defeated, 29-12, against the team they led by one point prior to kick-off.
The hosts started at a fast pace, but Woodbridge gained territory from the boot of JP Hart.
Despite a patchy line-out, Woodbridge forced a knock-on and Jono Cooke’s charge gave them a penalty for not releasing, Jamie Smith kicking three points.
Penalties continued for both sides, but attacks built with scrum halves Max Bell (Newmarket) and Adam Plummer (Woodbridge) busy.
Woodbridge pounded the home 22, flankers Nick Woodley and Dan Bond leading the charge, backed by Herb Parsley and Tim Johnson. Smith earned another three points from a penalty kick for the Warriors.
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After that, Newmarket started to spread the ball wider, and wingers Ben Phipps and Simon Guigenault stretched the Warriors’ defence, but Hart was able to clear after some poor handling frustrated the hosts.
Taff Lloyd was the next to attack for Woodbridge but the hosts were relentless and Sam Hillary pushed over for a try, after which an altercation saw Cooke leave and Woodbridge facing the next 50 minutes with 14 players.
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Guigenault then scored again, leaving Woodbridge to restart with a kick deep into Newmarket’s 22, only for the favour to be returned. Warriors’ Smith kicked another penalty to reduce the deficit to three.
Bell and his number 10, Michael Reeves, co-ordinated repeated forays against the Warriors’ defence, captain Tom Stokes putting in several hard stops against Tom Peacock and Daniele Terenzi.
A penalty allowed Reeves to claw back three points and the penalty count continued to rise with a yellow for Newmarket, levelling the numbers for 10 minutes. Smith kicked his fourth penalty on the hour and the score hit 15-12.
Newmarket mounted a prolonged assault on the visitors’ line and, after serial penalties, Hillary scored his second try.
Woodbridge maintained the pressure and Stokes, Woodley, Johnson and some monster touch kicks from Hart exploited gaps centre-field.
However, Woodbridge were frustrated by some indifferent set pieces, sharp defence and a yellow card, so against the odds it was no surprise when Reeves ran in the last try for Newmarket.