Bristol 20 – 20 Newquay. Match report

In Newquay’s first encounter with Bristol, the leagues most decorated team ran out clear winners by 10 goals. That was three months ago, a long time in the life of a young team. This even-stevens result from the second confrontation is a measure Newquay’s rapid progress.

A magnificent first half from Newquay took the home side by surprise. Newquay soon siezed a two goal lead through David Santos, Newquay’s fire-power from 9 metres. Further goals from Lee Springett, J├╝rgen Koenen, and supreme fast break goals from Eddie Percy-Hughes kept the score chart ticking along nicely. Newquay were threatening from all over the field, from Ben Haddrell on the right wing, to back player Adolf Botar, to Kevin Welsh – bagging another handful of goals from the thick of the battle on the edge of the circle.

The home team are very strong, favouring an extremely physical style of play. This could have intimidated a lesser team, Newquay however, were able to adapt their style to match the physical threat from Bristol. The powerful defensive partnership of Tristan Mullar-Forster and Koenen took the sting out of Bristol’s shooting. Limiting their top player to long range efforts, which were dealt with expertly by goalkeeper Geoff Muksett, continuing his good form from the Bath game.

At points during the first half Newquay were three goals up. However with one or two missed chances from the away side, Bristol will feel happy to have gone into the break only one down, 10-11 and all to play for.

Bristol came out in the second period determined to avoid the embarrassment of being beaten by a town with a population of less than 20,000 as opposed to Bristol’s 500,000 or so. They soon gained the lead for the first time in the game, 14-13, before Newquay stepped up their performane once more to retake the advantage.

With the game entering the final minutes Newquay’s frustrations with the referee – Bristols own coach – were growing. Throughout the game the home team were allowed to get away with dirty foul play.

With the score at 20-20 and 30 seconds remaining, Newquay had one last attack and a chance to take a deserved victory. Bristol’s players had other plans as every player grabbed a Newquay body on and off the ball. All going unpunished, Bristol were able to turn over the ball, and in the dying seconds break toward the Newquay goal. A desperate defensive effort from Newquay saw an infringement from Koenen milliseconds before the final buzzer. Bristol had one shot to steal victory. Newquay’s tallest players formed a wall as Bristol lined up their top man for the shot. He fired in from above the jumping wall, only to see the ball saved by Muskett.

Even with the dissatisfaction with the referee, and the feeling that they didn’t get everything the performance deserved, Newquay can take heart from the proven progression they are showing. This result is another chapter in the incredible story of a small town team taking on the established giants of the sport. The future is bright.

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