Worcester away this weekend in final league fixture of the year
PICTURES BY STEVE SMITH
Midlands 1 West
Malvern 14 Newbold 28
Another excellent win for Newbold away from home, against second from bottom club Malvern, writes Sean O’Brien.
I can’t mention that we were well short of a full squad because I’d be reprimanded by keen Advertiser sports section reader and ex Rugby Welsh star man Richard Trunk, who’s not sympathetic to excuses. But we were short, and that’s what is most pleasing. The players that stepped up played really well and did themselves and the club proud.
Dan O’Brien pinned Malvern back in their own half early in the game but Newbold struggled to capitalise on it with points.
Curtley Bale showed up well in the loose throughout, which was great to see, but Sam Thompson took most responsibility for carrying duties in the absence of a couple of the usual ground makers. He continued his excellent recent form.
Coach Matt Davies said he was really pleased with the performance of the team before rushing off without having a beer, for fear of ruining the Carbonara he was cooking at home. He’s getting more like Gino D’Acampo every week.
Newbold strung some phases together and started to look like league leaders. Ethan Wookey and Sam Thompson were involved before Sam Powell received a scoring pass for a well taken try. 0-7.
KJ Henry was causing Malvern all sorts of problems by now and Danny Facer showed how good he is at finding a soft shoulder to run at, taking numerous pop passes running against the grain and making great yards. I heard one Malvernian accent in the crowd say ‘he don’t go down easy do e?’.
Malvern were more than competitive in this match though and they scored an excellent catch and drive try from a five man line-out. The conversion made it 7-7.
Oisin McKenna also featured well in the second period showing he is one for the future.
Ben Nuttall and Danny Facer made big dents in the Malvern defence allowing Jamie Mapletoft to go over for a 7-14 scoreline.
Malvern were happy to take on ‘Bold’s forwards at every opportunity, but Newbold had the class to keep them at bay with relative ease.
A loose clearance from Malvern found James McGill who skipped up the left touchline before releasing Jamie Mapletoft who then popped to Curtley Bale who supported superbly. It was 7-21 at half time as Dan O’Brien’s kicking was up to its usual standard, 100% on the day.
Malvern weren’t going to lie down though and scored their second to put Newbold under great pressure in the second half. My dictaphone recording around this time displayed anxiety, and a willingness to have taken the win at that stage, and forget about the chase for a bonus point (‘stuff the bonus point’). Malvern put up a good fight in what is for them a disappointing season.
Ben Hartwell, another injury replacement (sorry Mr Trunk but it’s true) announced his return with a critical turnover. Welcome back Ben.
Lee Lightowler let the side down by being the only Newbold loser on the day, in an arm wrestling contest in the Malvern clubhouse afterwards. It’s ironic that he’s one of the few lads in the club with a gym membership.
Danny Facer flopped over to provide breathing space near the end, after Sam Thompson and Dan O’Brien thrusts were repelled.
Worcester away this week, which is another tricky fixture. A win would give Newbold surely their best first half of a season ever. One for the statisticians and / or historians perhaps.