Five out of five and 24 points for Parkfield Road side
PICTURES BY STEVE SMITH
Midlands 1 West
Newbold 52 Stourbridge Lions 7
Newbold in second place in the table entertained fourth placed Stourbridge Lions on Saturday and anticipated a hard game, writes Sean O’Brien.
It was a beautiful autumn afternoon. The weather was as glorious as Newbold legend Terry ‘The Dog’ Andrews’ new cap. Very smart. Terry was very busy up and down the scoreboard platform steps, once Newbold started to rattle up the points.
It was imperative that Newbold started better than they had the week before against Stoke.
They did. Newbold‘s kick-off was on the money, the chase was great, securing possession back. Ben Dawes had a little burst before Sam Thompson picked a wonderful line against the grain and ran in under the posts from 40 metres.
Newbold were playing the best rugby they’d played for possibly a season or two.
The forwards were winning all the collisions and producing lovely quick ball which the backs transferred quickly and accurately. The support play was particularly encouraging, with ball carriers so often having an option either side of them to choose from.
Stourbridge looked the part. They looked fit, pacy and organised, and to be honest they may be a really fine side but Newbold smothered them so emphatically we’ll never know. Bold simply got about them and didn’t give them a sniff of the ball for the whole of the first half.
Skipper Ben Thompson came to the party and made some telling thrusts of his own up the middle of the park, as did Nick Walton, a player that is really missed whenever unavailable for selection.
Sam Thompson was again on the scoresheet when he scored a pushover to make it 14-0 once Dan O’Brien had done his thing again with the conversion.
Scrum power earned a penalty try next, for 21-0.
A write-up that describes so many tries from 5metre scrums may mislead a reader to think that that a big strong set piece is all that’s in the armoury, but in order to get in those positions Newbold had made line breaks or, as they did often enough, kicked cleverly for position.
Sam Thompson flew high at the tail of a line-out and on descent popped the ball to Ben Dawes to twist and turn over the line to score. Clever. 28-0 and a bonus point after just 31 minutes, and game over, all done and dusted.
The backs handled nicely to put Jamie Mapletoft over for a score on the right wing for 33-0.
Just before half time ‘Bold pushed Stourbridge off their own ball, and Sam Thompson flicked the ball to Phil Reed 10 metres from the line. There was more chance of an American Ryder Cup win than Phil Reed passing the ball from there. 40-0 at half-time.
Early in the second half Stourbridge to their credit came to life. They scored under the posts for a 7 pointer, and generally started to compete all round.
Newbold slammed to door shut though after a ridiculous own-22 to opposition-22 Dan O’Brien boomer earned an attacking line-out. Stuey Houghton hit bullseye and lovely off the top ball put the backs on the front foot. Ethan Wookey sprinted onto the wide pass and his outside arc broke the defensive line, enabling him to give the scoring pass to Lee Lightowler to score in the corner. This was Newbold’s best try of the season. 45-7.
The hard working Newbold pack ‘scored’ another penalty try at the death, for 52-7.
A great day for me personally was capped off by winning the raffle. This was a first because statistics show that I’ve never won a raffle where chairman Paul Fereday had also bought tickets.
Without putting a dampener on things it needs pointing out that Newbold have played four out of five at home, so all need to stay calm. Bromsgrove are tearing trees up at the top of the table, Sutton Coldfield - Newbold’s opponents next week (at home in front of the Vice Presidents) - look dangerous, as do Dudley Kingswinford.
To coin a phrase, Newbold genuinely do just need to take one game at a time, and what will be will be.