RUGBY: Newbold through to final of county cup

Ben Thompson scored a hat-trick of tries in the county cup win
Ben Thompson scored a hat-trick of tries in the county cup win

Soggy Sunday victory over Sutton Coldfield in semi-final

PICTURES BY STEVE SMITH

KJ Henry

KJ Henry

Warwickshire Cup semi-final

Newbold 54 Sutton Coldfield 17

This game was at neutral Broadstreet RFC on a rotten soggy Sunday, writes Sean O’Brien.

Oisin McKenna made his first team debut, and the 18 year-old looked as comfortable out there as he does when playing Gaelic Football for Rugby Gaels as he usually does on a Sunday.

Duzza Ziba scoring a try against Sutton Coldfield

Duzza Ziba scoring a try against Sutton Coldfield

Newbold faced a far more vibrant, lively Sutton than the side that came to Parkfield Road last week, and they made a decent fist of this semi-final.

They started well, repelling an early Newbold attack then getting down the other end to earn a three point lead on the five minute mark.

Carrying a few walking wounded, Newbold made some changes in selection and struggled initially to get in the groove. The scrum however was as solid as ever, and a pushover try finished by Sam Thompson made it 7-3.

Ethan Wookey - this week at inside centre - looked really dangerous and was really seeking out spaces to run at. Following a Tom Dixon line-out take Ben Dawes took it on and a couple of phases later Ethan scythed through a gap in Sutton’s stretched defence for a lovely try. The conversion made it 14-3 and this signalled the time for Newbold to take control of matters.

Dan O'Brien tackled with Ben Dawes, Dan Facer and Sam Thompson looking on

Dan O'Brien tackled with Ben Dawes, Dan Facer and Sam Thompson looking on

A big strong pack like Newbold’s is very handy for taking control but it takes much more than that. The backs were fluent and never reluctant to give the ball some air, and why would they when they have real talent on the flanks. Lee Lightowler particularly is just backing himself, every time.

Declan George scored next, and when converted this made it 21-3.

Ben Nuttall and Ben Dawes both charged at Sutton’s line before popular Duzza Ziba crashed over for a try. He doesn’t score many (any, not even in touch rugby in midweek training). He was excellent again this week, until he tripped coming down the steps from the changing room after the half time break, which cost him the second half.

This did let old favourite Terry Boneham take over at loosehead and it was just magnificent to see him out there after a series of injury problems. Highlight of my afternoon by far.

Ben Nuttall charges through with Ethan Wookey in support

Ben Nuttall charges through with Ethan Wookey in support

The half-time score was 35-3. The last seven were scored on the cusp of half time by Ben Thompson who fought his way over the line at the back of an excellent, and very patient, driving maul from a line-out.

Newbold became a bit loose in the second half, discipline was abandoned for a while and before long they were down to 13 men. This was sloppy, but credit to Sutton, they had obviously decided just to go out and play. They scored a seven pointer themselves with a kick and chase try under the posts.

Like a golfer choosing his trusty old clubs to regain his past good form, Newbold chose to push Sutton over their own try line at a 5 metre scrum. This can demoralise the opposition. It was 42-10 after this.

Skipper Ben Thompson scored his second of the afternoon soon after Newbold had been restored to their full complement of players.

The biggest negative of the afternoon for Newbold was when Lee Lightowler was sent off late in the game. I will never criticise the officials, they follow the laws strictly as dictated by those above. The nose to nose incident that earned the red card was as gentle as an Eskimo’s kiss.

Sutton’s sparky scrum half scored a cracker to give them 17 points, but Newbold had the final word. Ben Thompson scored his hat-trick (jug of beer please) to make it 54-17 at the finish.

Tom Dixon wins a lineout

Tom Dixon wins a lineout

Whitchurch away in the league this week, and they’re very good. More next week....