Newport and Bridgnorth target a hat-trick to start

Newport roared out of the blocks to go top of the early-season standings in rugby union’s Midlands Premier.

Six converted tries had Newport 42-7 up at Oundle by half-time, with two more scores following after the interval to round off a comprehensive 54-26 victory. And having fought back from a slow start to defeat Nuneaton last week, director of rugby Bob Adams was delighted with his side’s opening.

“Our intensity and execution in the first half was near the levels we are aspiring to play at for 80 minutes week in week out,” he said. “We played at our pace and dictated the ruck with speed and accuracy.

“We were dominant at set piece and had a good platform to unleash our backs, from numbers 9 to 15 we looked sharp.”

Port bagged three tries within the opening 15 minutes, with Chris Perry scoring from close range, Jacob Leonard throwing two dummies to go in under the posts and the forwards battering through for Harry Mahoney to dot down.

Oundle responded with a converted try of their own, but Chris Taylor immediately responded – with Mahoney then taking advantage of a huge push from the scrum to score his second try.

Perry doubled his own tally on the stroke of half-time as Port went in at the interval 42-7 to the good.

Second-half changes affected Newport’s rhythm and Oundle scored another converted try to close the gap, only for Alex Gow and Fred Bailey to re-establish the visitors’ dominance.

Oundle would finish with a flurry though to earn their own bonus point, but it was Port who earned the maximum five available to them with a big win ahead of Saturday’s home game against Paviors (3pm).

Bridgnorth will also be aiming to make it a hat-trick of early Midlands Premier wins when they hit the road this weekend.

The All Blacks head to Bromsgrove for their first away test of the new season after chalking up back-to-back victories on home soil.

A 21-8 success against Broadstreet last Saturday followed on from an opening day triumph against Syston and left Bridgnorth sitting fourth in the early standings.

Broadstreet missed two early penalties during a lively start and were made to pay on 15 minutes when North winger Jordan Burgess beat several defenders to score following good carries by Loti Molitika and Callum Bradbury. Will Biddell added the conversion.

The visitors hit back with a penalty, but were then rocked when a poor defensive clearance was collected by full-back Marley Finn, who spotted a gap and powered through to score under the posts, Biddell adding the conversion.

Broadstreet then fought back with a push over try following a yellow card for Bridgnorth flanker Zac Xiourouppa, to make it 14-8.

Bridgnorth then survived a scare just before the break when Broadstreet’s pack were penalised as they looked set to score from a scrum close to the line.

There was just one score during a keenly-contested second period and that went the way of the home side.

Strong running prop George Newman was the man on the mark as he extended Bridgnorth’s advantage with a converted try following good play from wingers Burgess and Biddell.

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