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Newbury 22-35 Bees

By David Lawrence
April 24 2006

Tim Walsh may well be heading to Newbury next season but he had no favours for his new team-mates as he inspired Bees to their first win in six games. The Australian fly-half has already agreed a deal to join the Berkshire club but still produced an excellent display to send them to defeat, scoring one try and setting up two others as the visitors bagged a rare bonus point for their four-try effort.

And with Sedgley Park crashing to a hefty defeat at Plymouth Albion, the bonus point was crucial in lifting Bees off the foot of the table. They now have Newbury in their sights and a place out-side the bottom two.

And yet it looked like being anything other than a Bees win early on as their free-running hosts ran in two tries inside ten minutes.

"We had a game plan to keep things nice and tight and drive them a bit," said Bees director of rugby Phil Maynard.

"We kicked the ball down the middle early on and we'd said we weren't going to do that. We were going to kick the ball down the tramlines and keep it narrow to contain their very good counterattacking game.

"We reminded the players of that at half-time and we then took the fizz out of their game in the second half a little bit.

"We are still making some daft mistakes but it is great to get a win."

To be fair, the Bees tightened up their approach well before the break, having been prompted into action after Kenny Bingham and Mark Ireland had bagged Newbury's early tries, sandwiching a Ben Harvey penalty.

An excellent break from Walsh resulted in Will Matthews darting in to score a converted try on 14 minutes and Nick Baxter just missed out on adding a second soon after when he stepped in to touch.

An already injury-ravaged Bees side suffered more turmoil with first-half injuries to forwards Matt Long and Duncan White and they were joined on the sidelines by Simon Davies and Harvey. The latter's exit brought David Evans into the fray and the new arrival responded with a 35-metre penalty on the stroke of half-time to hand Bees the lead.

The second half began with Evans and Blair Feeney trading penalties before Walsh give the home fans a sneak preview of what they will be getting next season when he wrong-footed the Newbury defence before striding between the posts.

Evans added the conversion and although he failed with a penalty five minutes later, the Bees were now on control with Walsh running amok before feeding debutant winger Kyle Palm, who ran in his side's third try.

Newbury's Martin Nutt replied with a try down the wing but the bonus point was well and truly bagged when Bees replacement hooker Matt Miles rounded off the scoring five minutes from time.

"It's a pleasing result for everyone particularly our long-suffering supporters who turn up at every game," said Maynard.

"They get behind us and the point has to be made that it does make a difference to the players. It is a close-knit club and such support should help us get back into the top five where we need to be."

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