South West 1 West
Newent 35, North Petherton 19

NORTH Petherton’s momentum took a hit as they were well beaten at second-from-bottom Newent in Gloucestershire on Saturday.

Pethy were missing eight first-team regulars but still fielded a strong line-up and dominated early possession.

They couldn’t turn this into points, however, and paid the price as Newent scored two breakaway tries.

Pethy stayed in the game until the break but an early second half try knocked the stuffing out of the visitors.

The Oaks did put some points on the board in the closing stages, with Alex Dunham among the try scorers, but it was too little, too late.

North Petherton first team manager Andrew Ford said: “Newent is a tough and hostile place to play but we were aware of that.

“They just seemed to want it more than us on the day.

“They are in a relegation battle and fighting for their lives, whereas we weren’t quite at it - the difference in mentality decided the game.

“We did start well and had a lot of the ball but those two early tries against the run of play made it difficult.

“More positively, nine of our squad were under the age of 23, which bodes well for the future.”

The strength of Pethy’s youth section was also demonstrated on Sunday, when six of their Under-16 squad - Jack Baker, Ben Cole, Maxime Bell, Rob William, Liam Dray and Isaac Stuckey - represented Somerset Under-16s against Dorset & Wiltshire.

This Saturday, Pethy’s first team host bottom club Newton Abbot looking to get back on track.

“We will treat it as a similar challenge to Newent, as Newton Abbot are also scrapping to avoid relegation and will throw the kitchen sink at us,” Ford said.

“We have a fuller squad available and we will be targeting all five points.”

It was a better weekend for North Petherton Ladies, as they picked up their first league win of the season on Sunday - 25-5 away to Topsham in Women's NC 1 South West.