Rugby Union Round-up: Newcastle end the adventure

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The Independent Online
THE confidence of Bridgwater and Albion was sky-high for their Pilkington Cup fourth round tie against Newcastle Gosforth: they flew up from Somerset yesterday morning with their own sports psychologist. But sadly the Somerset Cup-holders found the gap between South-West Two and National League One too great, and not even Bridgwater's Nuclear Fuel sponsorship could prevent a 53-10 meltdown.

Bristol bulldozed Henley out of the Cup, winning 46-6 at the Memorial Ground. But they did not have things all their own way: Henley tackled ferociously in the first half, and Bristol's England Under-21 lock Simon Shaw was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured jaw 10 minutes before the interval. Wharfedale's fairytale progress through the early rounds of the Cup culminated in a derby match against Otley in front of a crowd of almost 3,000. There was to be no more giant-killing, as the League Two side won 20- 5, with second-half tries from Simon Henry, Peter Rutledge and Richard Petyt. Nottingham's chances of defeating Gloucester disappeared with their second row David Hindmarch, sent off after 12 minutes for stamping at a ruck. Tries from Tony Windo, Peter Miles and Mark Nicholson gave Gloucester a comfortable 29-9 victory.

Orrell eventually overwhelmed Stourbridge 55-3, but the underdogs led 3-0 for 18 minutes and played with great vigour to trail 17-3 at half-time. West Hartlepool defeated Wakefield 18-17 in a match that West dominated: tries from winger Owen Evans and flanker Alan Brown and a penalty kicked by Kevan Oliphant gave them a 13-0 half-time lead. Jon Sleightholme, Wakefield's England Under-21 winger, started his side's fightback with a 55th minute try in the corner, converted by Mike Jackson. Richard Thompson and Paul White scored two more late tries for Wakefield; crucially, Jackson failed with the conversions.

London Irish beat Havant 18-13, and the Hampshire side put on a stirring show in front of a record crowd at their Hooks Lane ground. They trailed 18-3 at half-time, Paul Collins having scored an early try for the Irish, but Havant's wingers Mark Sheldon and Nich Roach brought their team back into the match with a try apiece in the second half.

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