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Newbury 22 - Salisbury 15

Saturday 20th. April 2024: The 1st XV made the short trip to Newbury to contest the quarter-final of the Papa John's Men's Community Cup. Newbury had beaten Salisbury twice during the league season, but the away match in January had been very close. With Salisbury showing much improved form in last weekend's defeat of Reading, hopes were high for an upset.

Newbury made a fast start and were first on the scoreboard with a try from their centre Oli Rhoads. Newbury fly-half Dan Thorne had no trouble with the blustery crosswind and added the conversion points.

This seemed to wake Salisbury up, and no. 8 James Kennedy added to his season's try tally midway through the first half. With Newbury scoring a penalty, and a further Salisbury try from winger Theo André Browning, the teams went into the break all square at 10-all.

Newbury regained the lead with a penalty very quickly after the restart. Salisbury then added a  third try, from second-row Sammy Goldsmith, to go into the final quarter with a two-point lead. Salisbury's discipline let them down and they conceded too many penalties. Newbury's kicker Thorne had a superb afternoon despite the difficult conditions and scored three further penalties in the last 15 minutes.

Newbury ran out winners by 22 points to 15 and will now face Teignmouth in the semi-final. With the leagues over, this defeat in the knockout cup marks the end of the season for Salisbury's senior players.

The competitive season is over but the even more senior members of the club will continue with Walking Rugby through the summer. This Saturday the club is hosting a Walking Rugby tournament,  with teams from nine clubs from across south-west England. The action kicks off at noon and all support at Castle Road will be welcome.

Report & photos: John Palmer

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Captain Luke Newton leads the side out for the last time this season
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No. 8 James Kennedy stretches to score Salisbury's first try
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Will Murley and Rob Crossley stop the Newbury centre
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Winger Theo André Browning shrugs off a tackle ...
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... and scores the second
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No way through for James ...
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... so Sam Goldsmith claims the try instead
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Try-saving tackle from centres Will Murley and Tom Edmunds

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