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Green and Whites Secure Cup Quarter-Final Berth


THE mathematics of Pool 8 in the British and Irish Cup were such that Nottingham needed a bonus point win, a clear 10 point winning margin, and to deny Llandovery a bonus point in order to progress to the quarter-final stage.

Lewington action Llandovery

ON FIRE: Alex Lewington continued his strong form for the Green and Whites with a vital first-half try. PIC: Alison Bowden.

That objective was achieved at Meadow Lane with Andy Savage leading the way, grabbing two tries in a 31-15 win that sets up likely a all-English meeting away at Newcastle in the next round. There are a number of group games still to be played before the fixture can be confirmed.

Although the Green and Whites enjoyed much the better of the second half, the closing stages were tense with the visitors 13 points behind and putting together a couple of pacey counter attacks.

But an injury time penalty from James Arlidge finally gave Nottingham the win that takes them to the knock-out stage of the cross-border competition.

In a bright start they almost broke through down the left only to turn the ball over.

A lineout minutes later also saw them in a threatening position, but again they lost possession.

They paid dearly for those mistakes as the visitors' first serious attack created an overlap for winger Sam Soul to open scoring. James Garland was wide with the conversion.

A kick through almost brought Llandovery a second try but Tim Streather got to the ball first to touch down.

But then centre Matthew Jacobs somehow managed to wriggle out of a tackle to break free and score under the posts, Garland this time successful with his conversion, and suddenly Nottingham were 12 points behind.

The Green and Whites replied with a well-worked try from Savage in the left hand corner, after stealing a Llandovery lineout.

Arlidge missed the conversion, but their next lineout bought a similar try for Alex Lewington, Arlidge levelling at 12 points each with the touchline conversion.

And their next lineout almost bought a third try as Michael Holford drove from close range, but a defender intercepted and cleared the danger.

Towards the end of a close first half a yellow card for Llandovery No 8 Richard Brooks handed Nottingham a vital advantage, and they quickly made the most of it as Savage grabbed his second to give them a 17-12 lead at the break.

It was a bittersweet ending to the first half with Streather replaced by Joe Cobden, with the centre hobbling off the pitch with a hamstring injury.

An early second half try from David Jackson, who came in as a late replacement for Jack Cobden who was ruled out through illness, secured that all-important bonus point. And although Arlidge was wide with the conversion, the fly half slotted over a penalty minutes later to make it 25-12, with a second opening up a 16 point gap as the game moved into the final quarter.

Phil Eggleshaw has had a long lay-off with injury but his return to action, on as a replacement for Rupert Cooper, brought an appreciative cheer from the Meadow Lane crowd.

With 12 minutes remaining Garland reduced the deficit to 13 points with a penalty, but Nottingham kept their discipline and despite those late counter attacks finished the game well on top, Arlidge rounding off the scoring with that late penalty.


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