Coventry 45 Newbury 29
A stirring second-half fight-back enabled Coventry to wrest the spoils against a determined Newbury side. The five-point win, bonus point included, offers respite from being sucked into the increasingly tight National League One relegation dogfight.
Coventry had a six-point start courtesy or two James Moore penalties and looked to be in for an easy afternoon. However, Newbury had a very different outlook.
Caught napping by a quick tap penalty on seven minutes by winger Ken Bingham - seemingly taken nowhere near the mark - the game's never less-than-entertaining course was set. The contest ebbed and flowed all afternoon until Coventry's second-half power prevailed.
Dave Tiueti and Apoua Stewart scored tries for Coventry on 18 and 26 minutes respectively; the former converted by Moore, sandwiching a close-range unconverted try by scrum-half Dan Smaje on 25 minutes.
Just after the half-hour, visiting skipper Malcolm Roberts was given a final warn-ing as to his side's persistent offside tactics. Strange, then, that it took until 73 minutes before his side were reduced to 14 as winger Bingham was sin-binned for killing the ball.
Referee Terry Hall had obviously decided to award penalties to Coventry rather than take more decisive action earlier. Goalkicking Coventry winger Moore was the main recipient of this policy, ending with a match haul of 25 points, courtesy of seven penalties and two conversions.
Coventry themselves ended the first half with 14 men as flanker Tom Johnson was also sin-binned for collapsing an excellent Newbury rolling maul on 36 minutes, a pretty clear-cut decision for referee Hall, this one.
Newbury made Coventry pay for this with a close-range scrum drive, hooker Glenn Cooper being driven over by his fellow forwards for Newbury's third try, Blair Feeney converting.
While Newbury were content to play the 'professional game' of always being on the edge and limits of the offside laws, together with prevent-ing quick play by Coventry, Moore was content to rack up the points through penalties.
Moore, this division's leading points-scorer, landed penalties at regular intervals, four plus the conversion of Richard Protherough's 75th-minute score, the hooker being driven over by his fellow forwards for Coventry's bonus try.
Replacement flanker Chris Cracknell's injury-time try, converted by Feeney, was a just reward for input into an entertaining afternoon.
Talismanic skipper Hendry Rheeders' try on 62 minutes, the South African finishing off a good handling move involving Jon Higgins and Kurt Johnson, was Coventry's third try.
He said: "Newbury play the same game as us. We gave them soft tries, we knew when we came out for the second half we just had to step up our defence. I am happy with our performance, there are bits and pieces we can work on but overall I am happy. As for James Moore, every time we go out there I think that teams are going to pick that up, no penalties in their own half or otherwise Jimmy will kick it.
"I am just happy that when I ask him to take three points he delivers but he has had a very good attacking game too."