NEWENT will return to Twickenham after they summoned up all their spirit to win 27-20 at Harrow in the RFU Senior Vase semi-finals.
The physical London outfit boasted five consecutive promotions and four defeats during that time, which even bettered Newent’s proud record.
But the Gloucester Premier Division champions prospered to book a final with West Yorkshire outfit Yarnbury at Twickenham on Sunday, May 4, at 1pm, just a season after winning the Junior Vase against Baildon.
Newent coach Andy Addis said: “We’re very lucky to have people at the club helping us out because we’ve got nothing.
“We rent the recreation ground off the council and we’ve got no clubhouse.
“It just makes it difficult and any help we get we receive gratefully. We try and pay people back with performances like that.
“They’re not the best facilities by a long shot but it’s the heart and desire that has done it – hearts of lions I would say. They are fantastic, every one of them.”
Newent’s discipline at the breakdown shone through, while Harrow were serial offenders at the ruck.
Centre Ross Webb continued to impress, including with his kicking in place of the injured Joe Goatley.
But the visitors’ pack were penalised early on and full-back Christian Witney kicked the penalty.
Newent levelled swiftly when a break from scrum-half James Dean was halted by a high tackle and Webb landed the three points.
Then Webb and Barney Goatley sucked in defenders with probing runs before winger Brett Gardner took advantage of quick ruck ball and finished by the posts.
Webb’s conversion gave Newent a 10-3 lead on 15 minutes.
Harrow were denied by full-back Richard Merrett’s crucial tackle but the hosts did claim a try through Adam West with Witney’s conversion hitting the post.
However, the visitors extended their lead three minutes into the second-half when Barney Goatley broke to score a converted try by the posts.
Harrow roared back with hooker Shane Togher’s effort and Witney’s conversion brought the score back to 17-15.
But Webb kicked a penalty and then hit the upright with another attempt only for winger Dominic Matthews to follow up for a converted try.
Number eight Christopher West dived over for Harrow but Newent’s superb defence ensured they held on by seven points.