Winchester 34-0 Newbury Blues

Winchester racked up five unanswered tries in an emphatic bonus point win over Berkshire rivals Newbury Blues, writes Ben Beavan.

Coach Gaz Martin’s team were imperious in every area, as they attacked from anywhere and everywhere much to the delight of the home support. Winchester came out full of belief in themselves and their game plan, electing to kick-off with the breeze at their backs and immediately had Newbury pinned deep into their own half.

At the first scrum the Winchester pack demolished the Newbury eight, a penalty awarded, and the pattern of the game seemingly set. Full back Tom Fieldsend’s punt put Winchester deep into the Newbury twenty-two.  Flanker Patrick Dunne took the line-out ball, to set up a series of pick and go as the Winchester pack hammered at the Newbury line, before cross-field passes found stand-off Greg Sullivan who cut through to dot down. Fieldsend added the extras

Skipper Matt Golding repeatedly splintered the Newbury defence with his blood-and-thunder carries while Sullivan’s searching boot probed the Newbury back line.

Winchester continued to dominate at the line-out, deploying their driving maul to great effect, with Newbury unable to prevent prop Alex Lee from burrowing over to take Winchester twelve points clear. A Newbury yellow card set up another attacking line-out. Hooker Jimmy Wallis’ throw-in was taken cleanly and the drive was direct, clinical and effective with prop Jim Beavan driven over to take Winchester into a 17-0 half time lead.

Outside half Daniel Thorne was amongst Newbury’s most influential figures and opted for a series of tap-and-go penalties when Winchester were deemed to have infringed in the tackle area by the referee, whose punctilious decision making at the breakdown was becoming a key factor in the shape of the game. 

However, with Winchester down to thirteen players, with scrum half Jake Jupe and Golding in the bin, the defence was spearheaded by a remarkable tackling shift by flanker Wilf Nicholson that strangled Newbury’s hopes of playing their way back.

Winchester scored their fourth and bonus point try following a clever line-out steal by Nicholson. With the Newbury defence at sixes and sevens, centre Jake Hiscock found the time and space to scythe over. Fieldsend converted and added a penalty soon after to take Winchester into a 27-0 lead.
With players returning from the bin, Winchester were again at full strength allowing Fieldsend to deliver the coup de grace with a try and conversion taking Winchester to 34-0 as the referee blew for no side.

Winchester are away next week to meet league leaders Jersey in their most challenging fixture of the season.