RUGBY SLIDESHOW: Newbold v Leighton Buzzard
Big win keeps Newbold unbeaten at top of the table
Midlands 1 East
Leighton Buzzard 13
At the halfway stage of the season Newbold sit handsomely at the top of the table, unbeaten and four points clear of hard-chasing Old Northamptonians, writes Sean O’Brien.
Newbold desperately wanted to follow up the previous week’s good win at Ilkeston, and despatch to history a few patchy performances just prior to that. This week was a bit less pretty, but still well worth the bonus point win.
The scrum is Bold’s most potent weapon at the moment, and on Saturday they pushed Buzzard around at will. This was the main feature of an otherwise even contest early on. It was on 15 minutes that Buzzard converted a penalty from 25 metres out.
Newbold responded well, and a clever Phil Reed kick in to space in the right hand corner earned good field position. The ball moved left to Dan O’Brien who fed Nick Walton who trucked up the middle and offloaded to Sam Thompson who finished well. O’Brien converted.
An Ethan Wookey kick to the corner put pressure on Buzzard, who had a kick charged down that fell to Stuey Houghton who was tackled short of the line, but won a scrum about 8 metres from the Buzzard line. Newbold put a shove on and headed for the line with the ball at Danny Facer’s feet. But with the line in sight Facer’s dribbling was more ‘messy’ than ‘Messi’ and the ball popped out for Buzzard to clear.
Buzzard played well for a spell; they’re another side in this league who play good rugby but just lack a bit of beef. Newbold were playing ok, but the back play was a bit predictable, and they realised now and again that kicking for field position was more fruitful.
KJ Henry came into the game and made a real impact with and without the ball in hand.
Newbold won a centre-field penalty when a Buzzard flanker strayed off-side. Sam Thompson caught the line-out following an excellent kick to the corner. Dawes took over at the back of the maul, transferring to KJ Henry who claimed the score in the corner, 12-3.
From the kick off Ben Dawes caught and Danny Facer made good ground. Quick ball from six rucks moved the ball right then left to Ben Dawes again and then Dan O’Brien to go over for the try, which he then made into seven points and a 19-3 half time lead.
Early in the second half Newbold put Nick Walton in the air at the back of a line-out to feed Ben Dawes on a back peel. Danny Facer took it on and Buzzard conceded a penalty and lost their centre to the sin bin. Newbold opted for a scrum, putting faith in Danny Facer to control the ball at the base, and this time dot down the pushover try. O’Brien added the two points for 26-3.
At this stage the mist rolled in, causing a ripple of ‘Mull of Kintyre’ from the Newbold faithful. Buzzard won a line out on Newbold’s five metre line and scored at the front with a good move, a score they well deserved.
Bold refused to let recent second-half blues set in and worked really hard with Walton, James McGill, Ed Scott and Lloyd Warner running hard, and Tom Dixon and Kyle Furlong tackling everything and anything. Ben Dawes was unstoppable from two metres on the hour mark. O’Brien conversion – 33-8.
Warner then kicked and chased well for a lung-busting score in the corner to make it 38-8. Buzzard scored a well- worked try down the right ring wing, responded to by Walton, man of the Match for my money. O’Brien converted nicely for the icing on the cake. Happy Christmas from Newbold RFC!