RUGBY: Newbold 2nds, defeated but heads can be held high

Matt Staley with the ball for Newbold 2nds, Charlie Reed looks on, with Simon Smith    PICTURE BY STEVE SMITH
Matt Staley with the ball for Newbold 2nds, Charlie Reed looks on, with Simon Smith PICTURE BY STEVE SMITH

Newbold 2nds 21 Newport (Salop) 2nds 41

Newbold 2s took to the field confident in the belief a good result could be on the cards, alas it was not to be. Newport 2nds travelled to Parkfield Road with their 1st team on a cloudy day with the odd glimmer of sunshine, writes Keith Fletcher.

Supporters packed the touch line awaiting the game with bated breath. Newport seemed upbeat in the warm up, laughing and joking amongst themselves, looking like they cared not a jot with the upcoming encounter with the Newbold lads? All the supporters were not disappointed at a fantastic game from both sides, with Newport deservedly running out the victors, however the score line does flatter the away side.

On the stroke of 3pm referee Nigel Scott got the game underway. Newbold, running uphill for the first forty minutes took the game to Newport, a much bigger squad with strength across the whole team.

Newbold, however, were not fazed by this; early exchanges saw Newport gain the upper hand and after six minutes crossed the try line to open their account.

With the conversion missed, Newbold again attacked from deep, Ryan Campbell scampering up the touch line only to be cynically brought down with a high tackle. A touch of physio therapy from Tom Holroyd saw him back to feet and ready to take the good fight back to Newport.

Intercessions from the Newbold back row saw Newport slot a penalty from 30 yards’ out and on 22 minutes they again breached the Newbold line and again the conversion was missed.

Fears grew when Captain Simon Smith went down with what looked like serious head injury, however giving way to Joss Thompson for 15 minutes whilst Simon took a breather. This was the last score of a dominant half from Newport but to be truthful Newbold were the better side in the half despite the score line.

Simon Smith rallied the troops at half time full in the knowledge this game was far from over, Fin Williamson and Ben Hartwell were changed at half time both of whom had great games against their strong opposite numbers and Newbold took to the field again.

Newbold started the stronger in the second half and after a mere three minutes Matt Staley darted though the sleeping defence after a series of misdemeanours from the away side, giving James Ferris the easiest of conversions and Newbold were back in the game at 7-13.

More exchanges of brutal tackling and high end handling from both sides saw Newport go over again to stretch their lead after Newbold began to chase the game, causing openings for the Newport lads to exploit.

Strong play from the Newbold back row saw the entire squad handling the ball, phase after phase being repelled by the gallant away side could not stop the `mighty` Duzza Ziba go hurtling towards the Newport try line from 35 yards out.

There was no stopping him or the ball as he crashed through the somewhat fragile back line and again Fezz stepped up to drive home the conversion. With the resultant six-point difference Newport started to gain some ground as tackling became weaker from the home side, many being missed and far too many at shoulder height meaning the tackle was never going to be effective. This led to Newport slotting two more penalties as frustration crept into the Newbold game.

Newport were now dominant in most areas as their strength and well drilled nature came to the fore, time and time again running hard at the Newbold defence. Plenty of phases gave way to a quick ball from the bottom of a marauding Newport ruck. With the ball shipped across the backs a gap appeared and Newport were leading by 17 points after the conversion was again missed.

Shortly afterwards Newport slotted another penalty to drive home their advantage, trying hard to sap the “villagers” will. However Newbold, to their credit, never gave up and neither would they, belief and sheer bloody-mindedness kept the lads going.

Charlie Reed’s work rate in particular, was an absolute plus for the day for the home side and the easiest of decisions to give him man of the match for Newbold 2nd team, also Louis Smith making some fine runs from the wing, although unfortunately taking the ball on instead of off-loading at the critical moment, the exuberance of youth and his sheer pace was another major plus for the afternoon.

Following some intricate exchanges between the forwards and backs the ball landed in the safe hands of hooker Tim Murphy on the opposition’s twenty-two. Not even thinking of an alternative, Tim ran hard at the Newport defence and was rewarded with a fine solo effort try to top off a great day at the office, which gave him and the home side’s supporters much delight, the biggest smile of the day to be honest!

Fezz again slotted the conversion to round off a good afternoon with the boot to bring the score to 21–34 with only minutes left on the clock.

This result would have been a fair reflection of the game and yet Newport were not yet finished. Another fine move from North of Birmingham side resulting in a well taken try and to wound the Newbold lads the conversion was stroked through the uprights to leave the final score at 21–41.

Penalties and poor tackling let the home side down and yet putting that aside, Newbold 2nds can hold their heads high. Newport are and will be in contention across all the leagues they play in. A very strong and committed squad of players who could easily play across both 1st and 2nd teams on any given day.

Lessons to be learnt then as both teams take on Nuneaton 1s and 2s come to Parkfield Road this coming Saturday.

Support as always is very much appreciated and to have the “16th” player on the touch line will lift all the lads who run out on Saturday, please, please make the effort to come down and cheer us to victory with kick off scheduled for 3pm.