Tough game at Dudley Kingswinford
PICTURES BY STEVE SMITH, REPORT BY SEAN O'BRIEN
Midlands 1 West
Dudley Kingswinford 24 Newbold 19
Dudley Kingswinford leap-frogged Newbold into second place in the table with this win.
Three losses on the bounce for Newbold then, but I thoroughly enjoyed (most of) Newbold’s performance on this occasion. There was plenty of effort and spirit and some decent rugby played as well by the lads in red and black. The front five were desperate to redeem themselves after a couple of less than acceptable weeks, and redeem themselves they did. Great to see Ben Dawes back to his beastly best, now fully recovered from his pulled fetlock.
Josh Cooke came in at fly half for his first 1st XV after a few months off playing computer games (broken hand) and did pretty well, but DK’s backs were better than Newbold’s on the day by quite a distance. Like last week, at times, there were more holes in Newbold’s defence than in a chunk of Swiss cheese.
Also like last week, Newbold were 10 points down in the first 5 minutes after a penalty and a converted try. (If Newbold, in the last two games, had not conceded in the first 5 minutes, they would have won both games and been in the play offs). DK’s with the wind behind them started brilliantly, going straight for the jugular by kicking to the corner rather than taking three points on offer. This paid off, and Newbold realised that a whacking was on the cards if they didn’t react. ‘Bold responded wonderfully, keeping the ball in hand, going through the phases, toiling into the wind.
Jamie Mapletoft looked dangerous at scrum half and made one really notable break that could have earned Newbold their first score. Unfortunately, chances went begging due to basic errors which cost field position and relieved the pressure Newbold were putting on DK’s.
This directly contributed to DK’s scoring again for 17-0.
Again Newbold came back with fire in their bellies and put some determined stuff together that their opponents couldn’t handle. They gave themselves a chance with a well worked team try finished by Ethan Wookey who also converted, just before half time.
I was pretty confident at 7-17 down at half time with the strong wind behind and DK’s looking flakey.
DK’s had some attacking quality in their back division and Newbold, out of shape too often, were easy pickings and DK’s scored a sucker punch try which heaped the pressure back on Newbold. 24-7. This was by now a great game for any neutrals in the healthily sized crowd.
Repeatedly Newbold messed up attacking line-outs to let DK’s exit their half. But there was still belief at 7-24 and this increased when the big units pushed over Sam Thompson for a try. 12-24.
DK’s were creaking like Danny Facer’s knees, and it looked as though Newbold could do it when they scored again through Sam Thompson again, and Ethan Wookey converted to make it 24-19 with about 4 minutes to go. Sam finished up with a hat-trick of two tries and a shiner.
It wasn’t to be though, and Newbold are now looking for 3 wins to finish, which is the least they deserve after a generally strong campaign.