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1st XV - Match centre

Newbold on Avon
Fri 16 Mar 19:30 - Midlands Division - Midlands Premier Full time



This re-scheduled Midlands Premier league fixture was played under lights at Stourbridge RFC, which meant some extra travelling for both sides. Never the less, a healthy support followed the players from both sides, including several Bourns old boys which was great to see. After a fairly typical spring day, the heavens opened as the mini beast from the east began it's weekend journey across the Midlands showering plenty of rain for over an hour before kick off, which made the new AGP pitch more greasier to deal with.

Bourns were forced into some changes due to unavailability, but welcomed back prop Jonah Boyce to bolster the front row. Steve Handy moved into the row and Matt Dickerson earned a recall to 6. Alex Warner filled the 9 role and fit again Tom Jarvis took his place at 13. Luke Smith was asked to occupy a bench place allowing Woz Oliver to move back to the wing.

Newbold like Bournville are trying to avoid the drop. The bold find themselves with more to do than Bourns and this was evident in their tenacity, particularly in defence and at the breakdown. Bourns certainly headed the territory and the possession stats with number 8 Drew Harper, prop Jonah Boyce and hooker James Weaver more than prominent in the carry, but Bourns spoiled their work with a high penalty count where they were turned over too regularly in the tackle, and when the ball was good, un-characteristic passing errors resulted in promising attacking positions being spurned. There also seemed a lack of willingness to put some width on the game to move the Newbold forwards around the park. All the penalties and the errors let Newbold off the hook and gave them a chance to mount some attacks which were repelled. As the second quarter started, the main Newbold "Jackler" the flanker was shown a yellow for a high tackle. Bourns didn't take advantage until the 25th minute when Bourns scored the first of their two tries when after a series of drives from a line out, Drew Harper was driven over in the corner which was well converted. A few minutes later, Warner knocked over a penalty for a 10-0 lead, but right on half time, an offside under the posts allowed the Bold to get their first points on the board with a simple 3 points, so 10-3 at the break.

Better fare was hoped for but the concession of penalties and numerous unforced errors coupled with poor decision making kept Newbold in the hunt and their intensity never loosened as they came more and more into the game. Another break down penalty cut the lead to 4, but Bourns did respond with a controlled phased score seeing Drew Harper claim his second try wide out again converted for a 17-6 lead. That was as good as it got as both sides lineouts failed at the throw in, which resulted in several midfield scrums and with Bourns continuing to offend at the breakdown, two more penalties were kicked making the score 17-12. Newbold sensed they were more than in it and Bournville old boy Rich Murray came off his wing and took an offload 10 meters out to race in under the posts and with the kick, Newbold took the lead for the first time at 19-17 with around 12 minutes to go. Bourns huffed and puffed but rarely threatened as errors compounded their frustrations. Warner had a long range penalty that just faded wide, but as the final whistle went, you could see what that meant to Newbold who continue their quest at the great escape. The only solace of comfort was a losing bonus point which will be vital come the end of the campaign in four games time.

Star man by a country mile was Drew Harper who carried for many yards and put his fair share of tackles in. The other results concerning the other two relegation protagonists went in Bourn's and Newbold's favour, so Bourns still lie 10th just 6 points ahead of both Longton and Lichfield and 11 ahead of Newbold. Both sides have 4 games left. Lichfield have to play Longton and Newbold play both Lichfield Longton as part of those remaining games, so something must give there.

Next week sees Bourns at home to Nuneaton who lie in mid table, a well winnable game where a reaction will be expected from the Bourns boys...

15, Paul Sumner, 14, James Atkinson, 13, Tom Jarvis, Mark Coulson, 11, Warren Oliver, 10, James Hussey, 9, Alex Warner, 8, Drew Harper, 7, Ejike Uzoigwe, 6, Matt Dickerson, 5, Tom Holliday (capt), 4, Steve Handy, 3, Jonah Boyce, 2, James Weaver, 1, Alex Willis, 16, Terry Sigley, 17, Luke Smith, 18, Alex Iles.

Quilter Kids First Champions winner – November: Hinckley RFC

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
8. Derby 26 69
9. Nuneaton 26 63
10. Bournville 26 60
11. Lichfield 26 48
12. Newbold on Avon 26 43
13. Longton 26 38
14. Old Halesonians 26 10

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