Now it's the big one this Saturday against the league leaders
Midlands 1 West
Newbold 15 Whitchurch 10
Newbold in second versus Whitchurch in third. Whitchurch were better than Newbold when Newbold won in Shropshire back before winter had started, writes Sean O'Brien.
On this occasion, though close, the score of 15-10 to Newbold perfectly sums up the game. It was akin to the Ireland v Scotland game which was going on at the same time, and was never going to be like the England rout the day later.
Whitchurch are an ‘in your face’ type of outfit who build and maintain pressure. A couple of biggish props made the scrummage a great contest, and their line-out was better than Newbold’s on the day. They were well drilled and determined to overturn what they believe was an unjust result last time the sides met.
The early exchanges were all in Newbold’s 22, and they held out brilliantly, repelling a series of pushover attempts. This is where the game was won on Saturday. Undoubtedly.
Manny Sidhu looked dangerous and fly hacked Newbold into Whitchurch’s half. From there Newbold won a line out and through some really good play put Kyle Furlong over for a lovely score. Kyle is like a Jack Russell terrier. When get gets on that ball he just won’t let go.
The main feature of the next session was Newbold’s big carriers being thrown into Whitchurch’s defensive lines – and invariably being sent back backwards. Sam Thompson continued his good form and looked mostly likely to penetrate. Whitchurch just put up a big red wall, keeping their players on their feet rather than contesting at the breakdown for a ball that Newbold were controlling nicely.
When Whitchurch were on the front foot, the pressure earned yellow cards for Ethan Wookey and KJ Henry.
Whitchurch scored a good converted try themselves, and from the kick off Ben Dawes got over the ball for a penalty converted by Dan O’Brien.
Kyle Furlong and Whitchurch’s centre earned yellow cards later on for ‘handbags’. Referee Kindy Devgun did well on the day keeping a lid on things.
Early in the second half Ben Thompson caught at a lineout and the ball was driven before being popped to Ben Dawes who deftly passed to Ben Thompson to finish the move he started. Converted by O’Brien for 15-7.
The line-out faltered too often for Newbold to really get in the groove, and there were probably one or two too many handling errors also.
Whitchurch were therefore always in the game and scored a penalty themselves for 15-10, before frightening the life out of Newbold with a late foray into Newbold’s 22. Again Newbold were excellent in defence.
In summary this was a gutsy performance and a really well earned victory – and good preparation for the ‘Big One’ next week at leaders Bromsgrove. Coach Matt Davies called this a ‘season defining victory’ after the game.
If ‘Bold stay as defensively tight against Bromsgrove as they were against Whitchurch, and they stand a chance. There is enough firepower in the side to score tries against anyone.
A large travelling support is worth a few points.