EASTERN COUNTIES LEAGUE
Newmarket slipped to a defeat at home to table-toppers Thetford on Saturday, but they gave a much better account of themselves than when the sides met earlier in the season.
Back in September, Newmarket were comprehensively beaten 43-0 by their Norfolk opponents.
However, on this occasion they gave the leaders a scare before losing out by an 11-point margin.
Two early penalties put the visitors in front, but Newmarket responded in the 13th minute when hooker Sam Helson dotted down, with Tom Clifton adding the extras for a 7-6 lead.
As the half progressed, Thetford were awarded — and scored — two more penalties, leaving them 12-7 to the good at the interval.
Yet, within two minutes of the restart Newmarket were back in the ascendancy when Clifton converted Joe Stafford’s try.
Behind for a second time, Thetford moved through the gears, scoring two converted tries and two penalties to put the game out of reach, while Michael Reeves added a late try for Newmarket.
After the final whistle, head coach Dave Sayer said: “I am both pleased and disappointed. We scored three tries to two and still lost.
“The match was there for a win, but I feel Newmarket lost the game more than Thetford won it.”
“If Thetford are going on to be champions then we also know we can compete in a higher league.”
Sayer’s men (fifth) travel to ninth-placed Ipswich YM on Saturday (2pm).