RUGBY: Winning feeling is back for Newbold with victory over fellow strugglers
Newbold secure bonus point, beating Old Halesonians 38-15 in Saturday's snow
PICTURES BY STEVE SMITH
Old Halesonians 15 Newbold 38
That winning feeling came flooding back to Newbold after an eleven-match losing streak.
Old Halesonians are propping up the Midlands Premiership table, and are destined for the drop, but they’re seasoned at this level and have a handful of good players. Newbold had to work for this almost Dodo-rare victory.
Fair play to Old Hales for not calling the game off, which would have been easy to do given the layer of snow on the pitch and arctic conditions. Notwithstanding that Old Hales weren’t the best opposition in this difficult league, Newbold did apply themselves to the task in hand better than they have done for a while.
Naming forwards individually for their efforts would not be fair to those left without a mention, they all worked hard on a difficult afternoon, under real pressure to get a result.
In the backs Phil Reed harried and bristled as usual at scrum half, and was involved in everything, and the lads did well to handle a really greasy ball with cold hands as well as they did.
After five minutes Newbold scored a pushover try, Danny Facer getting the touch down. Hales responded with a try of their own, 5-5.
Both sides were really giving it a go, Hales perhaps considering the weather more than Newbold, using the boot well to put Newbold’s back three under pressure.
Newbold arguably kept the ball in hand too much on a day when sometimes you’d be better off with the opposition having the ball because of the weather.
This was the case when Hales tried to run the ball on the half way line, made an error, and Lee Lightowler capitalised with an excellent run-in. 5-10.
Then Newbold ran a penalty in favour of the kick at goal, messed it up, and found themselves in their own half under pressure.
The Hales left winger gathered a cross kick really well to score. 10-10 and a good game was brewing, but the the Newbold old boys (me included) on the touchline were getting grumpy.
James McGill made a good break into Hales half and Newbold pounded Hales’ line. Danny Facer, Nick Walton and Ben Dawes had big-boy trundles, before Phil Reed fed another big boy, Dan O’Brien who crossed to the left of the posts, and duly converted. 10-17 at half time.
In the second half Newbold’s scrum power earned a penalty try to make it 10-24 and create some breathing space.
Old Hales used the cross kick tactic successfully again, this time to their right winger, to make it 15-24 and do just enough to make Newbold (or at least the supporters) sweat a little again, even if it was minus two degrees.
To their great credit, Newbold were playing good-ish rugby in the second half, and mounted some good attacks. Dan O’Brien broke the line and deftly offloaded to Rich Murray who did well to cross under the posts. O’Brien converted to make it 15-31, and the Newbold supporters’ smiles cracked the ice that had set on their faces.
The cherry on the cake was when KJ Henry robbed the Old Hales centre of the ball, making it look like taking sweets off a baby, and ran in from 40 metres, making it 15-38 after the conversion.
A mention for Newbold’s travelling support; Given the weather it would have been really easy to take to the settee and watch the European Rugby Cup on the box on Saturday afternoon (it crossed my mind) but there was plenty of red and black on display.
More of the same support will be needed this week if we are to turn a win into a resurgence, as we’re up against second placed Peterborough Lions. However, I am totally and utterly convinced if we can get our ‘stuff’ together we will turn over a top side or two before the season is out. Why not this Saturday at Parkfield Road?
Team: Nuttall, Houghton, Dawes, J.Thompson, Walton, Furlong, Facer, Henry, Reed, Wookey, O’Brien, Lightowler, Campbell, McGill. Subs. Bale, A.Lightowler, Powell.