Newmarket recover from slow start to take maximum points

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EASTERN COUNTIES

GREENE KING LEAGUE

DIVISION ONE

Newmarket 35

Thurston 21

Newmarket returned to winning ways after the previous week’s defeat to Crusaders, but they did not have it all their own way against Thurston on Saturday.

Only 12 minutes had elapsed on the referee’s watch when the away side opened up a 14-0 lead thanks to two converted tries.

However, clearly stung by the early deficit, the home team regrouped, with Spencer Pettitt charging over the Thurston scoreline.

Michael Reeves successfully converted and the recovery was under way.

In the 36th minute Dale Gibson scored a debut try for Newmarket, which Reeves again converted to send the two sides into the break level with 14 points apiece.

There was a landmark moment for Reeves 10 minutes into the second half when he sent a conversion between the posts after Sam Hillary’s try to take his personal tally for the season to 100 points.

The try, meanwhile, was Hillary’s seventh this campaign, leaving him one adrift of the club’s leading try-scorer Max Bell.

But just when it appeared Newmarket were in the ascendancy, Thurston levelled up the scores at 21-21 with their third converted try 15 minutes from time.

Yet, within five minutes, Harvey Bell weaved his way through the Thurston defence to dot down and secure Newmarket the bonus point.

On this occasion the kicking duties were handed to Gibson and he made no mistake.

And the outcome was put beyond any doubt in the 73rd minute as skipper Matt Kent touched down, leaving Gibson to add the conversion.

The victory leaves Dave Sayer’s men fourth in the standings, five points behind Wymondham (second) and four back from Crusaders (third).

A slip week means Newmarket are without a fixture this coming weekend, with their return to match action scheduled for Saturday, March 25 at 11th-placed Beccles (3pm).