Eastern Counties League Greene King 1 West leaders Newmarket suffer defeat to Cambridge III
It was a start to 2019 to forget for Newmarket Rugby Club on Saturday as they slipped to a 17-12 defeat at the hands of Cambridge III in the Eastern Counties League Greene King 1 West.
The league leaders had headed into the Christmas break on the back of a three-game winning sequence following triumphs over Shelford III, Saffron Walden II and Cantabrigian II.
However, that run was halted by a Cambridge side that drew first blood in this encounter after a penalty was awarded for not rolling away.
In response, Harry Robbins, who was playing full-back, streamed down the length of the pitch only to be taken to ground just short of the line.
Nevertheless, after a hard-fought battle, Newmarket’s captain Max Bell found the line and touched for the first try of the match, which went unconverted.
Yet within two minutes Cambridge were back in front with an unconverted try of their own, which sent them into the break 10-5 to the good.
Another Bell try – this time converted by Michael Reeves – put Newmarket back in the ascendancy, but Cambridge rallied and in the final 10 minutes a penalty try saw them wrap up victory.
On a positive note for Newmarket, second-placed Cottenham were defeated 20-15 by March Bears, meaning the gap between the sides is three points heading into their meeting on Saturday (2pm) – the last encounter before the league splits.
When the sides met on the opening day of the campaign at Newmarket it was the hosts that ran out 24-7 victors.
* Ely Tigers remain in the London 3 Eastern Counties title picture following Saturday’s 40-34 victory at Crusaders.
Jacob Muncey (2) and Charlie Coupland were among the tries in the first half for Ely, but they still went into the interval 22-19 behind.
However, another Coupland try – accompanied by efforts from team-mates Matt McCarthy and Tom Green – got the third-placed Tigers over the winning line ahead of Saturday’s home fixture against Thetford (2pm).