Action from final Midlands Premier victory over Longton at Parkfield Road
PICTURES BY STEVE SMITH
Newbold 43 Longton 0
What a splendid way to finish a really hard but so enjoyable season, writes Sean O’Brien.
Longton, also relegated, are an established club and will gather themselves and return I’m sure, but this week is all about Newbold, who put on an excellent display in front of their VPs.
Lloyd Warner was playing his last game for the club – he’s been excellent for us, playing the last third of his long career, at the ‘Bold.
Before Longton had got off the bus they were 7-0 down. Phil Reed broke through for a long run-in after about 30 seconds, Dan O’Brien converting.
Dan O’Brien then kicked the only penalty in his 18-point haul.
Phil Reed did brilliantly to sneak ahead of Longton’s defenders to chase a Dan O’Brien grubber kick. The Little and Large celebration was absolutely wonderful by the way. It was like a dad and his son excitedly greeting each other at the school gates.
Longton came back into the game in the second quarter, with Newbold down to 13 men with two players in the bin, but ‘Bold kept them out.
17-0 at half time then and none of the tight finish stresses and strains of recent weeks. A pleasure to watch for a change.
Super Newbold defence, including a spectacular cover tackle by Lee Lightowler, with Joss Thompson also chasing back hard, illustrated how much this dead rubber meant to Newbold.
It was a one-sided second half. The rugby was great to watch, forwards and backs combining nicely, going through the phases. We nearly scored a hatful of tries (just like we nearly stayed up) but we kept on messing up the final pass.
Ben Thompson broke from a lineout and went on a great run before passing to Phil Reed, who snapped up his hat-trick. Good work that man.
Ben Thompson rampaged in for a score of his own on the right to finish a great move, Dan O’Brien did the same on the left. The biggest cheer of the day though was for Lloyd Warner, who scored a try himself late on, again following some great team play. There was no way on earth that he was going to pass that ball, or fail to cross that line. Well done Lloydy (see you next season). 43-0 was the final score.
The players – firsts, seconds and thirds alike - can at last take a rest. They need it, there a bits falling off some of them. The whole club has stepped up a level in their respective leagues, and took on some really top notch opposition. Every Newbold player will be better for it.
There were mixed emotions all over the place on Saturday; joy at the great victory, but disappointment at being relegated the week before.
On post-Christmas form Newbold would be in the top half of the table, we just left ourselves too much to do. It’s as though we’ve only just sussed out how to win matches. ……I need to stop rubbing salt in those wounds.
Those emotions became celebratory by about six o’clock, everything back in perspective and people remembering the many other reasons they play our lovely little sport.
Next season will come around soon enough and Newbold will certainly be ready to do it all again. The club is in good nick. For now though it’s time to forget about rugby for a (very short) while, and get on with the summer holidays.
Adios ‘til September then, it’s been a blast.