League season finishes with win at Ilkeston
Warwickshire RFU County Cup Final
Newbold-on-Avon v Sutton Coldfield
Sunday, April 24, kick-off 3pm
Coventry Butts Park Arena
Having completed an outstanding season of Division 1 rugby Newbold are now relishing the prospect of lifting the Warwickshire County Cup on Sunday, which would provide a fitting climax to a memorable campaign.
Newbold are twice winners of the Cup, beating Solihull in the final of 1975 and Kenilworth in 1978. The win over Solihull in ‘75 was a notable event, it ended Solihull’s total domination of the competition in those early years, although they regained the cup the following year, beating Newbold in the semi-final.
Back in pre-league days, Newbold and Sutton Coldfield would meet regularly for Saturday fixtures and were drawn together on occasions in the Warwickshire Cup so both clubs have a history of fixtures between them.
Sutton of late have been playing their rugby in National League Division 3 but they finished bottom of that league this season so will be relegated to Midland Division 1 (West).
Having successfully tested themselves in Midlands Division 1 (East) Newbold are eagerly looking forward to taking on a side from the National Leagues, all be it one that’s just been relegated!
Midlands Division 1 (East)
Newbold on Avon 22
Newbold primed themselves for Sunday’s Wawickshire County Cup final, with a hard working, four-try, bonus-point performance that was enough to see-off home side Ilkeston, writes Rod Yapp.
The Derbyshire side were far from the push-over that turned up at Newbold last September and throughout the first half they were well in contention to cause a major upset of the form book.
In fact, the home side were leading at the interval, something Newbold have rarely experienced this season. But with a sloping pitch and wind in their favour after the re-start Newbold first levelled the scores and then pulled away to claim a satisfying win in the end.
Several absentees led to Newbold fielding a youthful looking side that took a while to settle but the second half effort in particular led to Club Chairman Paul Fereday expressing his delight at the overall performance.
“The young lads did really well,” said Mr Fereday. “We worked out the average age of the side, it was in the low 20s and we reckon the oldest Newbold player was 29. I wont name him!”
Given first use of the elements, Ilkeston were the dominant force early on and the weight of forward pressure finally put them ahead with an unconverted try from a close range scrum.
The game settled thereafter into a midfield stalemate, finally broken by a piece of blistering pace from full back Adam Shaw who stripped the cross field cover in a 40-yard dash to the try line. The conversion drifted wide, leaving the scoreboard tied at 5-5.
The home side continued to make good use of the elements and to dominate the bulk of territory and with half time just minutes away Ilkeston again forced their way to the goal line for a second unconverted try.
Having to face slope and wind after the break, home supporters were doubtful the margin of five points would be enough to keep Newbold at bay and they were proved right almost immediately, Ben Nutall barging through a groping defence from close range, levelling the scoreboard at 10-10.
Thereafter, Newbold dominated the bulk of play, Ilkeston offering sporadic bursts of pressure in Newbold’s 22 but the home side never seriously threatened the try line.
And two more scores sealed the result, scrum half Declan George grabbing the first with a touchdown at the posts, converted by fly half Ethan Wookey and full back Shaw rounded things off with another piece of high-speed action, claiming the try following a kick and chase.
So, the league season is done, all that’s left now is for Newbold supporters to be out in force on Sunday at Coventry Butts Park Arena, to give the team maximum support in their efforts to crown a wonderful season by lifting the Warwickshire County Cup.
One absent friend is certain to be there in spirit, Club President Alan Bale RIP.
Team: Adam Shaw, Manny Siddhu, Ed Scott, Sam Thompson, Shaun Pollard, Ethan Wookey, Declan George, Ben Dawes, Kyle Furlong, Eddie Allen, Tom Grimmett, Ben Thompson (capt), Connor Gallagher, Joss Thompson, Mark Hyde.
Replacements: Ben Nutall, Mitch Wells, Ben Hartwell all used.