RUGBY: Newbold reflect on fantastic promotion year

Club president Alan Bale and chairman Paul Fereday receiving the accreditation from the RFU and former England player Nigel Redman
Club president Alan Bale and chairman Paul Fereday receiving the accreditation from the RFU and former England player Nigel Redman

Midlands 2 champions now third in Midlands 1

What a year it’s been for Newbold on Avon RFC 1st team after being promoted as Champions from Midlands 2.

Newbold celebrate winning the Midlands 2 West (South) title in the final game against Old Laurentians

Newbold celebrate winning the Midlands 2 West (South) title in the final game against Old Laurentians

Everyone will remember the extremely memorable and convincing victory in the last match against local rivals, Old Laurentians in April, writes Alan Bale.

This resulted in Newbold being promoted to Midlands 1 as deserved winners, after a truly outstanding season. Who would then have thought that Newbold, at Christmas would be sitting in third place in what is a tough tough, league, ten victories under their belt and Old Laurentians at the bottom.

Bold’s ten victories have produced some superb rugby and 71 tries. Skipper Danny Facer shares top try scorer with Danny Treharne, both on seven. Ben Thompson and Lloyd Warner, very close to them on six apiece. Something most pleasing, is that 26 different players have been amongst the try scorers so far, a clear sign that Newbold do have strength in depth.

Ethan Wookey is top points scorer on 122, which includes four tries. Probably the most satisfying result is the last one at Kettering, where we won 18-17. Having lost at home to a dubious last-second drop-goal, it looked as though we would face a similar result, until we regrouped and landed a deserved penalty ourselves.

Club photograph before the final league game in April

Club photograph before the final league game in April

It has been a pleasure to watch a powerful front 8, but more importantly, having young players come in and out of this side.

There is no doubt Newbold have a mighty strong pack, with plenty that can come in and not weaken it and at full strength Bold’s back line certainly compliment them. With another two or three backs, there is no doubt this side could go further.

After a poor result against by far the best side they have played for some time, Bedford, who look well equipped for the National leagues, Newbold face long-standing National 3 side, Nuneaton on Sunday, January 3 at Old Leamingtonians (2.15pm) and a chance to benchmark where they really stand.

The coaching team of Phil Reed and Matt Davies can take a lot of credit for the entertaining brand of rugby Newbold are serving up each week, but there is no doubt, team manager Dave Smith has also played a huge part within the back room staff. It’s been a pleasure to have watched every game, including the warm up so far, I for one, will be trying my hardest to watch every other game in 2016.

The 2nd team have lost very few games this season, with their main issue that not many teams seem to be able to consistently field 2nd and 3rd teams every week. Newbold generally have to battle to get teams to play them and seem to face an uphill task every week to secure fixtures. The 3rd team face the same issue and a discussion is under way to consider a different format next season, to ensure we play games every week for those that want them.

When it comes to the Colts, Juniors and Minis, it’s also a continuing major success story. Newbold’s 1st team contains no less than ten ex-colts, with many more on the periphery, in the squad or in the 2nd and 3rd team, so the development and integration into the senior sides of all young players, can be assured for those that want it.

And those that are not quite so committed are enjoying themselves in one of the strongest 3rd/vets teams around.

The minis are in their third year now, welcoming any child that is aged four upwards, having grown to around 100 children and looking to attract many more for what is now a fabulous Sunday morning at Parkfield Road. (If your child should want to join in the fun, please contact Alan Bale on 07785 712443 or the club directly).

Not forgetting the ladies’ team, now established as the Newbold Falcons, who have had another year of success and progression, along with the O2 Touch Rugby Centre, open to anyone from the age of 14 upwards, that is based at Parkfield Road, there is something for everyone.

Off the pitch, things have been going just as well as Newbold were recently awarded their RFU accreditation, which recognises that a club has a solid foundation and plans in place to progress over the next few years - and Newbold certainly has that.