Parkfield Road side now top of the table
SLIDESHOW PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Midlands 1 West: Newbold 32 Stoke-on-Trent 21
Stoke-on-Trent made Newbold work for the full 80 minutes on Saturday, writes Sean O'Brien.
More importantly Newbold had to work out how to beat their opponents, how to get past a strong defence whilst also being wary of a very dangerous counter attacking capability.
Stoke’s number eight was a handful and they had plenty of pace out wide.
Roy Shallcross was refereeing, and is always welcome at Newbold. Well, nearly always. He had a perfectly fine game.
Newbold picked a lighter than usual pack, with fewer big blokes to hurl at the opposition defence.
Ben Dawes stepped up a did the work of the guys that were missing. He was monumental to be honest, his best game of the season so far, and he was damn good in the other games.
Never think that Ben just ploughs into would-be tacklers and gets there because he’s a big lad. He dips and fends and twists and pumps his legs leg steam pistons to get where he’s going. I love it. The crowd loves it.
A dodgy dictaphone has deprived me of some of the finer details of Saturday’s game, but I’ll fill in the gaps from memory.
Stoke started brilliantly, dominating possession and using the useful boot of their fly half to get a 0-6 lead. He was clipping that ball very nicely indeed. Newbold were pinned in their own half for the bulk of the first quarter.
Newbold put the pressure on in Stoke’s 22 metre area but Stoke intercepted and made for a long run in, but something happened and Manny Sidhu scooted down the wing for a beauty. Manny has a bit of something different.
He’s scored thousands (exaggeration maybe) of tries for the club youth section over the years and is now scoring against the big boys. 5-6.
Scrum pressure then told for Newbold midway through the first half and a penalty try was rightly awarded. 12-6 to Newbold, and Newbold seemed to be getting in the groove.
An interception from Dan O’Brien looked as though it would set up a perfect score for Ethan Wookey in support. Now.
The ball inexplicably went to ground and a good spirited debate raged in the clubhouse afterwards as to whether it was a poor pass or a fumble of a catch.
Blame Culture at its very finest. Where’s the Third Official when you need him.
After the break things looked better for Bold even though Stoke were still looking a bit dangerous. They scored another three pointer themselves.
Lee Lightowler made two fantastic cover tackles. This is becoming a bit of a speciality of his.
Stoke went to 14 men following a yellow card, and Phil Reed benefitted when a nice backs move put him in under the posts. 19-9 to Newbold.
Manny Sidhu finished a great piece of rugby to score well in the left hand corner for 26-9 when converted and 29-9 when Dan O’Brien kicked a penalty.
Stoke weren’t done. They came at Bold and before long they had scored tries and penalty kicks to make it 29-21. Excellent from Stoke.
Newbold again had to just ‘work it out’ and they did. Finishing the game well in control and polishing it off with a long penalty for a bonus point 32-21 victory to take them to the top of the table.
Massive credit for the team effort that secured this important win, this week was not about individuals.
Stourbridge Lions are going along very nicely and will be Newbold’s visitors to Parkfield Road this weekend.
Newbold need to start a whole lot better than last week. Stoke did Newbold a favour in this regard.
The pre-match warm up and team talk will be a bit less relaxed this week I reckon.