Rugby Union: Gosforth gloom

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The Independent Online
THERE have been many new challenges for Newcastle Gosforth this season, but they knew what to expect from Northampton: the sides had met twice in National League Two, Northampton winning on both occasions. True to form, Northampton romped home 28-8; Newcastle remain cemented to the bottom of National League One. Gloucester scored their third league win in a row with a fine 24-20 defeat of Harlequins. Gloucester scrum- half Bruce Fenley poached the crucial try in the second half, snapping up a loose ball and scoring under the crossbar. Tim Smith converted to give Gloucester their winning lead.

At The Gnoll, Neath closed the gap on Swansea at the top of the table by beating Newport. Newport have a great chunk of their squad injured, and Neath took advantage with a 28-17 victory, which must have seemed all the sweeter with the news of Swansea's defeat. Dunvant suffered a fifth successive loss, going down narrowly 8-6 at home to Cardiff. Pontypridd's emphatic 43-18 win over Newbridge keeps them in touch with the leaders. Pontypool improved their prospects by narrowly defeating Bridgend

29-23: Bridgend were handicapped when their No 8, Nathan Jones, was sent off for punching after 28 minutes. Aberavon beat the bottom club Cross Keys 15-12.

In the Courage National League Two's big game, Sale moved to within two points of West Hartlepool at the top with a stylish 28-12 win at Heywood Road. The ex-Wales outside half Paul Turner was Sale's star, kicking three penalties and making a second-half try for the scrum-half Mark Warr.