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Top sides beaten but not downbeat ahead of break

Newport’s director of rugby Bob Adams was upbeat despite seeing his side suffer a third straight defeat.

Jed Corbett scores a try for victorious Oswestry  Picture: Nick Evans Jones
Jed Corbett scores a try for victorious Oswestry Picture: Nick Evans Jones

The Old Showground outfit were edged out 33-29 by visiting Hinckley in their National League Two West clash on Saturday but Adams, who is also the club’s head coach, was encouraged by his side’s display.

“We came out just on the wrong side of the scoreline but there were definitely signs of further improvement,” said Adams. “We are looking more like a team and competing better.

“We knew their set-piece would be strong, they are probably in the top two in the division in that area, and all of their points came off the back of the set-piece.

“We looked a better rugby side but you have to make sure all aspects of your game are spot on.

“It’s fine margins and we have to stop sides like Hinckley getting into the areas where they can use their set-piece strengths.

“But there are some big positives moving forward.

“We are starting to look more cohesive we just need to cut out some errors.

“We have to take the positives from the last two weeks and keep progressing and developing.”

Two tries from Reece Beddows, both converted by Connor Adams, saw Newport lead 14-0. But Hinckley then hit back to claim a 21-17 advantage at half-time.

Both sides bagged two tries after the break, with Jake Goulson and Kaid O’Neill on the mark for Newport, with Adams adding another conversion.

Bridgnorth head coach Bryan Smallman has welcomed a break in action that will give him chance to do a spot of fine tuning.

The All Blacks suffered a second successive Regional One Midlands defeat when they were edged out 18-14 by Oundle on Saturday.

The defeat leaves Bridgnorth sitting fourth in the standings in what is an increasingly tight division that sees just seven points separate second-placed Bromsgrove from eighth-placed Oundle.

The All Blacks have a free weekend and Smallman is keen to get out on the training ground and iron out a few problems.

“It was a tight game on Saturday and unfortunately we came out on the wrong side,” said Smallman. “There are no bad teams in this division and we are just falling short at the moment.

“They deserved the win on Saturday because they were better than us both sides of the ball.

“We had opportunities but we didn’t take them and they took theirs.

“I don’t think the wheels have come off but they are wobbling a bit and we need to tighten the bolts.

“We need to get back to playing some decent rugby because we haven’t done that for a couple of weeks.

“The week off gives us a chance to work in training and look at the things we are not happy with.

“The group have done some phenomenal things already this season.

“We have played some outstanding rugby but at the moment we are not playing how we can or should be.”

Ludlow head coach Mikey Jones has welcomed a break in action as he contends with a mounting injury list. Jones saw his side suffer their second defeat in three outings when they went down 30-21 at Malvern.

They still sit top of the Regional Two West Midlands standings but are now just two points clear of Old Halesonians, who they face on their return to action on November 26.

And Jones is hopeful a few of his walking wounded will be fit for that clash.

“The break has come at a perfect time because there are a few tired bodies,” said Jones. “We have had a week with no training so that the boys can rest up and recharge.”

Jones was disappointed with a below par second-half display that condemned his side to defeat at Malvern.

“It was probably one of the most controlled performances I had seen from a Ludlow side during the first half,” he said. “They came out the blocks quickly and got an early score but after that we took control and were 14-10 up at half-time.

“But then in the second half there were too many individual errors and we gave away too many silly penalties which ultimately cost us the game.

“We have got a few players out injured at the moment and with a few of the older heads in there I definitely think we would have won the game.”

Ben Chamberlin, Rhys Perkins and Will Hodnett scored Ludlow’s tries with Jack Lines adding three conversions.

Meanwhile, county rivals Whitchurch were 35-19 winners over Crewe & Nantwich.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hornets are side-by-side in the middle of Counties One Midlands West (North) after Shrews were edged out 27-21 by Luctonians II and the Hornets ran in seven tries on their way to a 43-7 victory against visiting Uttoxeter.

The hosts had the game sewn up by half-time after racing into 24-0 lead through tries from Kieran Wallace, Will Brench, Willie Von Tonder and Henry Sankey.

The tries continued to flow after the break as Brench weaved through to score his second, Cameron Mitchell out-sprinted the cover tackles to score by the posts and Sankey completed a fine afternoon’s work.

Market Drayton Ravens secured their best win of the season and the Shropshire bragging rights as they saw off high-flying rivals Clee Hill in Counties Two Midlands West (North).

The Ravens overcame a topsy-turvy start before eventually running out 38-24 victors against their third-placed opponents.

Ryan Walters burrowed over for an early Drayton try, converted by Alex Gammon, but Clee Hill moved 10-7 ahead with a pair of unconverted scores. The Ravens moved back ahead after the break when Luke Walters crashed over in the corner – only for Clee Hill to respond and go 17-12 clear.

However, the hosts finally started to take control and Walters levelled with his second try of the day before Ulaisi Bogi, Dovi Soqosoqo and George Minshall all crossed to move into a commanding lead – meaning Clee Hill’s fourth try of the match late on would prove to be mere consolation.

Elsewhere in the division, Cleobury Mortimer won 20-10 at Bridgnorth II, while Oswestry were 25-19 winners over Veseyans thanks to a brace of tries from Rory Kershaw and one each from Jed Corbett and Nathanial Sumang. Tom Williams kicked one conversion and a penalty.

Whitchurch II handed a walkover to Trentham in Counties Three Midlands West (North), while Bishop’s Castle & Onny Valley went down 32-8 at Stourport in Counties Four Midlands West (South).

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