RUGBY: Clonmell Cup returns to Newbold after 15 year wait
Tight victory for 2nds over Lutterworth
Rugby & District RFU
Clonmell Cup Final
Newbold 2nd XV 23
Lutterworth 2nd XV 19
On an outstanding sunny Sunday afternoon there was no better place to be than at Rugby Lions at 2.15pm to see an absolutely enthralling game of grass roots Rugby, writes Keith Fletcher.
Lutterworth travelled the short distance in the hope of regaining the Clonmell Cup for the fifth time in succession, Newbold on the other hand had were not going to roll over and simply let them have it.
Referee Kindy Devgun got the match underway and Newbold were immediately under the cosh when an alleged high tackle gave Lutterworth’s fly half the first chance to bother the scorer unfortunately for them if went wide and now it was game on.
Penalties were coming thick and fast for Luttewrworth in the first 10 minutes to which they converted two to open 6-0 lead until Phil Reed opened Newbold’s account with a glorious penalty from just inside the Lutterworth half dissecting the posts with ease on the 20 minute mark.
This was followed nine minutes later when some outstanding work from the entire Newbold side saw winger Luke Brown dive in at the corner followed by an equally majestic conversion from Reedo leaving the score at 10-6 to the Newbold boys.
Temperatures boiled over with four minutes left to go in the half and Big Mitch Wells and the opposite prop got to know each other and the ref saw fit to give them ten minutes cooling off prior to closing off an evenly matched first half.
Regrouping Newbold quickly took the initiative when a sublime kick over the advancing Lutterworth back line saw Rory Blood cease on to the floated ball and sprinted over the line giving Reedo one of his easiest kicks of the day to stretch the lead to 17-6 after 46 minutes.
Lutterworth were not finished however and struck back on the 50 minute mark, again unfortunate kicking letting the away side down left the score at 17-11 with 30 nail-biting minutes left to go.
Indiscretion from Lutterworth again gave Reedo the chance to stretch the lead to 20-11 and by now the crowd were in full swing. The ebb and flow of the game giving way to some fantastic breaks by both sides, albeit nullified by some tremendous defensive tackling.
With 13 minutes left Lutterworth intercepted and speculative Newbold pass and some quick hands saw them over in the corner again the conversion was missed leaving the game on a knife edge at 20-14.
With the away side’s crowd now beginning to believe it was their day, Lutterworth pressed on, giving the Newbold management and supporters some very scary moments.However, it was Lutterworth who let themselves down giving Reedo the chance to extend his 100% kicking tally for the day and stretch the lead to 23- 14 with only six minutes remaining.
As the Newbold supporter’s and players alike thought we had done enough Lutterworth pounced scoring a late try to take them within four points, a try would have given them the lead and ultimately the Cup.
Newbold defending with every last breath, every last being in their bodies putting everything on the line tackled like the gladiators they were, Danny Treharne harshly binned with 120 seconds to go gave hope to the Lutterworth players and supporters, knowing a try was the only score they needed they gathered and ran the ball, tackle after tackle stopped the marauding Lutterworth boys and a misplaced kick went dead and that was it.
With a loud blast on the referee’s whistle, the Clonmell Cup returned to Newbold after a long 15 year wait.
The inevitable surge on to the pitch to greet the heroes was something this roving reporter will remember for a very long time.
Celebrations went on long into the evening, ending what was a very hard fought and a very emotional game for the Newbold Club.
The season finale ended for Newbold in the best way possible, Players, managers and supporters alike knew this was already a season to proud of and this monumental game just rounded everything off for us.
Commiserations go to Lutterworth and hopefully we will see them again next year. This game amongst many this season was a triumph for local rugby, played in the correct spirit, in the way everyone wanted it to be played.
Both Newbold and Lutterworth can take away they gave everything for a cause, supporters congratulated both sides and it was a pleasure to part of and report on.