RUGBY: Newbold Colts into semi-finals

Newbold Colts in action earlier this year against Tamworth   PICTURES BY STEVE SMITH
Newbold Colts in action earlier this year against Tamworth PICTURES BY STEVE SMITH

Parkfield Road side upset the seedings with deserved victory over Old Leamingtonians

Warwickshire Colts League: Play-off Quarter Final

Old Leamingtonians Colts 12

Newbold Colts 24

Newbold Colts upset the seedings in this Warwickshire Colts League quarter-final play-off – deservedly progressing to the semis. Unbeaten in the league since November, a slow start to the season meant ‘Bold finished third in the North Division – so an away draw to an Old Leams side who have had a great season, finishing second in the South Division.

‘Bold started briskly. Despite Old Leams choosing to play with the wind and sun in their favour, Newbold dominated the opening exchanges. The scrum was solid and Old Leams had to work hard to repel the work of the hard carrying forwards. It was only some clever work by the opposition at the breakdown and the referee’s whistle for infringements that prevented ‘Bold turning their possession into tries. Old Leams were clearly threatening, especially in their backline, but the ‘Bold defensive effort repeatedly stopped the opposition – forcing regular kicking away of possession. After 21 minutes, ‘Bold managed to protect the ball sufficiently to maintain phases in the final third. With the backs on the front foot, Kear Bale made ground and won a penalty as the scurrying defenders killed the ball. Quick thinking from Carter Murphy and Fin Williamson, saw the ball tapped and fed to the missile-like Fin who touched down at the base of the posts despite the attentions of three defenders. Smart and brave. Fin Reed stroked the extras. The game continued in the same vein - OLs looking threatening but not able to breach the ‘Bold defence and ‘Bold having plenty of possession but repeatedly seeing pressure relieved by falling foul of the ref’s breakdown interpretation. Paddy Price, Curtley Bale and Fin Reed all made telling defensive turnovers in the 5m zone. A try for ‘Bold then looked certain after another turnover saw Oisin strike a great clearance kick into space deep in the opposition half. Three ‘Bold players, including prop Trafford, were homing in on the ball metres ahead of any defenders – only for play to be stopped and brought back for a ‘Bold scrum due to the ref having heard a shout about an injury. The deserved second try finally came just before half-time. Good work up the middle by Brendon Dewis, saw him feed Curtley Bale who went on a great 20m run to get OLs scrambling back. From the breakdown, Ben Brain flashed the ball to Oisin on the front foot. A superb pass over the top of the tackling defender from Kear Bale to the overlapping Carter Murphy, saw him draw his man and feed Rui Travaada to canter into the corner. A top-drawer team try. (HT 0-12).

It’s fair to say ‘Bold had been hearing the brunt of the referee’s whistle in the first half against them despite their dominance and a couple of critical decisions in the 2nd half turned the game on its head. Old Leams came out explosively at the start of the second half but ‘Bold weathered this and found themselves with an attacking lineout 10m out. A great throw and catch saw the dominant ‘Bold pack nicely set in a maul and moving forward with the ball at the back. Despite numerous clear defensive infringements, the decision went for a ‘Bold offence rather than the expected penalty try. A few plays and a couple of penalties later, Old Leams struck and got in at the corner after 9 minutes of the half. The introduction of replacements gave both sides a lift – with Ben Farrell for ‘Bold standing out with some aggressive carries and general energy around the pitch – appearing as wing, centre and prop at various times in the half! However, neither side was able to find a decisive opening until another intervention of the whistle saw a knock-on awarded against ‘Bold in midfield. A pass by Ben from the base of a ruck cannoned off a retreating Old Leams prop in an off-side position and a ‘Bold player tapped the ball back to Ben for the expected penalty. The call of ‘open play’ was a surprise to more than him. With the ‘Bold players still feeling hard done by, a lack of concentration in defence saw the opposition’s impressive centre burst through a missed tackle for first phase and evade two covering defenders to get a converted score. Scores level with 15 minutes to go. OLs looked dangerous now and ‘Bold looked more affected by the hot sunshine and pace of the game at this stage. But these young men have character. From the restart, the forwards surged back at OLs. Under pressure in their 22, the clearance kick went high and straight down the middle of the pitch to ‘Bold’s 10m. Carter raced forward to collect, but misjudged and the ball hit the floor without touching his hands. Paddy, back in support, had the presence of mind to seize the ball. This time it was Old Leams turn to stop awaiting a decision. Fortunately, Paddy didn’t and proceeded to run the length of the half, past rows of appealing opposition, to dot down under the posts. Fin R converted. It was now a case of seeing the game out. OLs had now emptied their bench and it was taking every ounce of energy for ‘Bold to contain their continuing threat in the heat. As last week, captain Fin made a superb steal that proved decisive in ending the game - turning over a ball that he had no right to win. Ben fed the onrushing Paddy who stepped his man and surged upfield. An off load to the supporting Curtley saw him bounce his man and set off down the wing with Rui in support. Bringing play back inside, he conjured an outrageous spin pass out of the back of his hand in contact to feed Rui. With only a metre to the touchline to work with and a winger to beat - cue the gas. Try in the corner and the final whistle. Now cue the celebrations!

A great game between two quality sides. OLs never gave in and ‘Bold had to be on their best defensive duty to prevail in this game. Semi-final this week away at Barkers who topped the North Division. Newbold won a tight league game against them in January and a similarly tight match is expected with a final in reach. Hopefully a good day for the club all round.