1sts at Scunthorpe and 2nds against Banbury
PICTURES BY STEVE SMITH
Midlands Premier Division
By Sean O’Brien
Scunthorpe came down into the Midlands Premier Division from National Division Two, as Newbold came up from Midlands One, so this was a stern test. Despite the different recent history, this was a close and hard fought contest, thoroughly enjoyed again by Newbold’s travelling support. Though defeated, Newbold brought home 2 bonus points from their million mile journey ‘Up North’.
The pitch was lovely but very narrow, the weather changeable, and the touchline banter with the Scunthorpe supporters was good spirited. New friends were made. The referee was good.
Newbold took the field with skipper Ethan Wookey lining up at full back after returning from injury; a welcome return indeed. ‘Bold soon found that Scunthorpe were a solid and organised team that put phases of functional rugby together well. Newbold were equally organised in defence however, and repelled each Scunthorpe thrust in an opening period that gave confidence that we could compete when it was our turn to have the ball. This confidence earned Newbold the first try after around 10 minutes, when good interplay between Declan George, Ben Nuttall, Dan Treharne and Ethan Wookey resulted in Phil Reed crossing. Dan O’Brien missed his only kick of the day on this occasion from wide on the right.
Scunthorpe kicked a penalty to make it 3-5, but soon afterwards Newbold put pressure on Scunthorpe in their own 22, and Lloyd Warner, patched up just before the game, barged his way over for a converted try under the posts. Lloyd knows where that try line is.
Amazingly, from the Scunthorpe kick-off, Newbold gathered, and set Ben Thompson off on a burst. He offloaded skilfully in the tackle to Phil Reed who went through and then around the Scunthorpe defence for a superb, even ludicrously good, individual score from his own half to make it 3-19 to Newbold.
Scunthorpe hit back with a converted try for their inside centre Parker to make it 10-19. Newbold were giving away penalties galore in their attempts to stifle Scunthorpe’s attacks. ‘Bold were punished again 13-19 and the Scunny support were asking the ref whether he’d forgotten to pack his yellow card. Some justification in that, in fairness.
Just before half time however, Dan O’Brien scored an individual try of his own with a deft (size 13) grubber and gather to take him under the posts for a 7-pointer.
Newbold had less of the ball in the first half, but had more cutting edge it seemed, turning the possession we did have, into points. Ben Nuttall had charged around the place enjoying himself, Danny Treharne visibly worked hard on and off the ball also. Newbold had the edge in the scrum, Scunthorpe generally had the line-outs under control. 13-26 to Newbold at half time.
Newbold – again – eased off in the second half. The referee found his card at half time and proved it by flashing it at Ben Nuttall mid-way through the second period. Scunny intelligently just turned the screw and chipped away with kicks at goal, 16-26, and then 3 tries to soon make it 38-26 to Scunthorpe.
‘Bold don’t lie down easily though nowadays and Ben Dawes soon scored a typical Ben Dawes try which was duly converted to give a final score of 38-33, and earn the second bonus point.
In summary then, Newbold really played well, but conceded far too many penalties to win a game of rugby. A 16 point lead was surrendered, which is becoming a really bad habit that the coaches may have to address with their substitution strategy. That sounded so easy didn’t it?
Newbold’s Man of the match was Phil Reed. Keep strapping him up and rolling him out please because the nuggety maestro is vital to the cause.
A long coach trip and a Saturday night social does wonders for team spirit. The Villagers will be even stronger therefore in future.
This week Newbold make their home league debut against top of the table Newport, which is another serious step up. Lots and lots of support will be needed. Entertainment is absolutely guaranteed.
The team: Nuttall, Houghton, Dawes, Walton, Thompson, Henry, Facer, Treharne, George, O’Brien, Reed, Warner, Lightowler, Mapletoft, Wookey. Res: Powell, Furlong, Allen, Campbell
Newbold 2nd XV 31 v Banbury 2nd XV 7
Game two of the new season and both teams stepping up to a much harder league of National Reserves League 1, Newbold 2nds saw Banbury 2nds make the trip to Parkfield Road on a cloudy, squally, sunny, showery afternoon which made for an interesting yet frustrating game for both sides.
Handling was inevitably going to be difficult, however Newbold settled the better earlier on. Some hard runs from the forwards was met with equal brutality of tackling which set up the first scrum of the afternoon and tempers boiled over as the Banbury prop got to know some of the Newbold lads a little closer ending in him having to cool off for 10 minutes.
This gave Newbold an edge to which they seized the first points of the game of the game with a very well taken try by Jake Callan, majestically converted by James Ferris. This was met with some fine play by the away side scything through some sad tackling from the home side to bring the scores level.
The exchanges that followed were indifferent to say the least, weather conditions could have accounted for some of the errors but between the lines it was easy to see the long lay off between seasons had taken a little toll on both teams, tackling, fitness and decision making all slightly adrift at this early stage of what will be a long season if things stay in this ilk?
Newbold were looking the better of the two sides with some of last season’s Colts making some fantastic efforts and showing the strength in depth at the club, couple this with the demolition of Broadstreet colts by the current crop of young guns on the adjacent pitch and its safe to say Newbold RFC is in a very good place at present.
Half way in to the first half centre Will Dudgeon was handed a barnstorming run into the corner after some sublime forward and backs move for Newbold to take the lead again with the conversion attempt missing by fractions, this was the last score for a pulsating yet indifferent half for both sides.
At the break Captain Simon Smith rallied his troops with some Churchillian outbursts and Newbold took to the second half with new gusto and within seven minutes “Dudge” was over again for his brace of the afternoon this time Fez stroking the ball through the uprights with comparative ease. Banbury were now struggling but not yet out of it, strong running from their winger was a constant worry for Newbold, however great defence from the backs nullified any counter attacks they could muster.
Newbold started to go through their gears and some quality running from Louis Smith saw him breeze by the flailing arms of the Banbury defence to earn the bonus point try. Again the conversion was pulled just wide but Newbold were now cruising. Louis was very unlucky not to grab another try after some sheer class from the forwards saw the ball go wide through the hands leaving Louis a sprint to the line which was dramatically cut short with the tackle of game from the Banbury winger, applauded by all who watched including a sporting hand clap from the Newbold wing.
A tiring, injury-hit Banbury side looked toward the end of the game as 17 unanswered point had sapped their energy and optimism, when Simon Smith crashed over for his well taken try, slotted by Fez to leave Banbury hearts broken and Newbold cocker hoop their first bonus point victory of the season.
This coming weekend sees the Newbold first team at home for the first time this season against a strong Newport (Salop) side. This will be a great test for the lads and your support will be truly appreciated. Along with this game the seconds take on Newport’s second string in a very big game for all concerned. A league and Cup double header as their third game of the season, the lads need to be on their metal and ready for what could be a season-defining game? Hard work in and around the club has seen it transformed during the close season, new players on the pitch, new people behind the bar and a great feeling running through the whole club make Parkfield Road a welcoming place to spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, watching the premier Club in the town of the game’s birth.
As a club we are always looking for new players and helping hands, should you know or want to play please feel free to contact the club for more information. Hopefully we will be seeing more and more support over the coming months and seasons, it’s all appreciated, we can assure of that!