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Newmarket back to winning ways in the Greene King IPA Eastern Counties 1 Shield following victory over Colchester III

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After losing to table-topping Beccles last time out, Newmarket returned to winning ways on Saturday thanks to a 21-12 victory at Colchester III in the Greene King IPA Eastern Counties 1 Shield.

The margin of victory could have been even greater – with Newmarket believing that the four-try bonus point was a possibility – but the encounter ended eight minutes early due to an injury sustained by the match referee.

Playing into a strong wind during the opening 40 minutes, Newmarket were forced to defend for large parts.

Newmarket Rugby Club v Cambridge III Dan Johnson Picture Mark Westley. (7667263)
Newmarket Rugby Club v Cambridge III Dan Johnson Picture Mark Westley. (7667263)

Nevertheless, in the main they were resolute and headed into the break just five points adrift of their hosts, who have won just one Shield fixture since the season restarted.

The wind sent an early Colchester kick wide of the target but they soon broke the deadlock with a try, although the subsequent conversion was missed.

Another try followed in the 35th minute – this time converted – to hand the home team a healthy-looking 12-0 advantage.

However, just before the half-time whistle Newmarket got themselves back into the game when prop Ben Wells crashed through to score next to the posts, followed by Michael Reeves further reducing the arrears with the conversion.

Colchester started the second half the brighter of the two teams, but Newmarket soon made their wind advantage count.

A neat move involving Max Bell and Raymond Richardson saw the latter lay a pass off for Simon Guenigault, who dotted down under the posts.

Reeves was once again on target with the kick, sending Newmarket into the lead for the first time in the process at 14-12.

Soon after Guenigault was sin binned for an infringement but once Newmarket were back to a full complement of players they scored their third try of the proceedings.

Dan Johnson was the try scorer on this occasion, fighting his way through to score next to the posts, leaving Reeves a routine kick to stretch Newmarket’s advantage.

At this point it seemed only a matter of time before Newmarket ran in their fourth try, but their pursuit of the bonus point was abruptly halted when the referee suffered a knee injury and was unable to continue, with it being decided that the away side were awarded the victory.

Third-placed Newmarket’s next outing will be the reverse fixture with bottom-of-the-table Colchester at their Scaltback base on March 23 (3pm).