UTTOXETER RFC continued their excellent start to the season with a narrow win over Newcastle at Oldfields.
The Town stormed into a 22-9 lead at half-time but were pegged back late on, hanging on to take all five points against their local rivals.
The win keeps them in touch with the leaders in Midlands Three West (North) – but director of rugby Donald Hayes has warned his men they need to improve.
“We were given golden opportunities by Newcastle in the opening 10 minutes and we executed them with lethal precision,” he said.
“I believe we offered a lot more than Newcastle expected and we caught them off guard in the opening stages.
“As the game progressed, the visitors built up momentum and looked a very dangerous prospect.
“At various points through the match it felt like it could swing one way or the other but as we often do at home, we held in there.
“We have got ourselves into a very good league position early on which underlines the talent we have, but if we want to continue mixing it up in the top half we must address our error count.
“We work hard and get into very good positions but seem to give the penalties away when we should be taking points.
“Missed opportunities at this level will have a habit of coming back to haunt us so we need to concentrate and remain focused as we build phases together.
“Once we eliminate these errors then we
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will become a handful for the opposition we face.”
Uttoxeter flew into a 15-0 lead, starting with a Paul Milward penalty before Lewis Bain pounced on a fumble from Newcastle’s full-back, picking up and sprinting in under the posts. Milward converted.
Tom Gallimore then put in a huge tackle, causing Newcastle to spill in the contact. Prop Bobby Armett picked up and crashed over the line.
There were just 11 minutes minutes on the clock.
By the half-hour, Newcastle had brought the scores back to 15-6 through two penalties before Armett re-extended the lead with his second try as he powered over from short range, with Milward again converting.
Newcastle added one more penalty before half-time to keep themselves in the game.
Just three minutes into the second half Newcastle scored an unconverted try to make the score 22-14 and added a further penalty within five minutes.
Momentum seemed to be shifting to the visitors as the score narrowed to 22-17.
Milward then scored a solo effort. Following a line-out just inside Newcastle’s half the scrum-half broke through the midfield and opened up, stepping past the last defender and diving over the line for a self converted try. The scores stood at 29-17 with 62 minutes on the clock.
A further penalty from Milward following a huge tackle from full-back Ben Gallimore for Uttoxeter extended the lead to 32-17 - but Newcastle were far from beaten.
With 10 minutes left they chipped over the blind side and their winger chased and touched the ball down over the line just before it went dead. A fine conversion added the extras and when Newcastle scored a penalty with five minutes left they could see the opportunity to snatch the win at 32-27.
However, Uttoxeter held on to secure the win and Newcastle remain just one point above them after picking up the losing bonus point.