Newton Stewart go down to third straight loss at Preston Lodge FP
Newton Stewart suffered their third defeat in a row in a close encounter at Preston Lodge on Saturday.
The East Lothian side edged home 14-10 to leave the Reds in mid-table with three wins and three losses from their opening six Tennent’s National League 2 fixtures.
Newton Stewart knew they would be up against a Preston Lodge side who would use their physical, tight style to try and dominate proceedings.
The home side did not disappoint and started strongly, kicking for territory as they looked to build pressure.
Newton Stewart absorbed the pressure initially, but eventually the scrum-half Gus Hillhouse muscled his way over for the opening score which he converted for an early 7-0 lead.
Newton Stewart slowly started to get into the game, competing well in both scrum and lineout. But it was Preston Lodge who were playing the smarter rugby however, pushing the Reds back at every opportunity with a strong kicking game.
The loss of full-back Russell Morton with a nasty knee injury was another blow, but Newton Stewart showed their spirit and winger Jamie Muir made a lung-busting break only to be hauled down just short.
This was the best period of the half for the Reds. Preston Lodge tried to turning the screw as half-time approached but were repelled time and time again by some fearsome Newton Stewart defending, led by the impressive James McMiken and Mark McCornick.
Newton Stewart started the second half with a determination to use the conditions and play Preston Lodge at their own game.
B ut a stray pass was intercepted by the impressive opposition stand-off who showed a clean pair of heels to score under the posts despite a valiant chase by full-back Jack Gaw.
The Reds knew that they had to score next. A yellow card for Preston Lodge helped and Newton Stewart soon took advantage with Mark McCornick crashing over for a great try, converted by Gaw to narrow the gap to 14-7.
Newton Stewart had their tails up and Gaw slotted another penalty to make it 14-10 but, despite having the majority of the remaining territory and possession, were unable to break down a stubborn home defence.
Next week the Reds are away to Kirkcaldy