RUGBY: Newbold aiming for promotion in 125th anniversary season

Ben Thompson is Newbold's captain again this season  (Picture by Steve Smith)
Ben Thompson is Newbold's captain again this season (Picture by Steve Smith)

Top two finish is target as Midlands 1 West campaign opens with trip to Ludlow

Newbold kick-off their 125th anniversary season on Saturday with the aim achieving of a top two place in Midlands 1 West. Newbold visit newly promoted Ludlow, followed by a trip to Worcester. With Ben Thompson set for his second season as captain, changes over the summer have seen coaches Phil Reed and Matt Davies return to Webb Ellis Road.

Huw Thomas takes over as head coach after 13 years with Nuneaton and Phil Boulton will be coaching the forwards, while still captaining Coventry.

“Phil Boulton is a level 3 coach, he’s been with Earlsdon for a couple of years and is stepping up a level to coach us,” said Paul Fereday, starting his 11th season as chairman.

“Still being with Coventry it will give us another perspective with how he is coached.

“Our aim is to get back into the Midlands Premier,” he explained. “We have the squad to do it and hope to build on last season’s third place in the division. We know the league is stronger this year, with Kenilworth coming up and Dudley Kingswinford who lost in the play-offs last time, but we hope to get in the top two.

"We also aim to continue to be Rugby & District's top amateur club and win the Merit Cup for the fifth year running."

Newbold’s first game at Parkfield Road will be against Old Halesonians on September 21, a sponsors day and old players’ reunion. The following day, their 125th celebrations continue with a family barbecue and duck race.

“It’s a bit of nostalgia as it’s something we did years ago, launching the plastic ducks into the river by the cricket club and first past the post wins. It’s something to get everyone involved and there will be England v Tonga in the World Cup to watch too.

“We’re also planning a St George’s Day dinner, 125th ball on June 6 and end of season tour to Rotterdam.”

With a strong club structure in place James Ferris is the 2nd XV’s player manager and Connor Gallagher captain, with the 3rds being run by Colin Smith and Martin Shaw. Russell Gallagher and Pete Murch are in charge of the Colts. Rob Bower is chairman minis and Juniors. John Dixon takes over from Steve Hibberd after three years as club president. And there is a new club steward, Paul Hancock.

On the field, new signings include second row Dean Fraser from Berkswell & Balsall; Warwickshire second/back row Rudi Reid and university student winger/fullback Jamie Nicholson both from Nuneaton, Southam back row Dylan Pinker, winger/fullback Jack Edwards from county champions Old Leamingtonians Colts and Coventry U18s and Warwickshire winger Josh D’Arcy from Earlsdon. Chris Bucknell and Ben Williamson also join the squad at Parkfield Road, and scrum half Reiss Boon also returns from Birmingham Solihull.