Bridgnorth 16 Newport 18
Match Photos by Dave Cooper - CLICK HERE!
The much awaited Shropshire local derby, in the quarter final of the North Midlands club, didn’t disappoint in terms of being a close encounter played with in the core values of our great game of rugby. Good conditions and a huge crowd descended onto the Edgar Davies Ground, which looked a picture with its mowed strips and breathtaking Bridgnorth sky line filling the riverside end.
Bridgnorth kicked off, with the early exchanges in the middle of the field resulting in both teams knocking the ball on, as nerves settled and the game found its own high tempo pace. On 8 minutes Newport kicked a penalty from their own half deep into Bridgnorth territory, just outside 22m. From the lineout Newport moved the ball wide driving into the 22, a couple of quick rucks later gave the Newport scrum half, Ashley Patterson an opportunity to snipe blind to score. The conversion was successful giving the Fishes a 7 - 0 early lead.
From a scrum inside the Newport 22, where Bridgnorth had started to generate some pitch position and possession , Newport took advantage from a free ball from an offside offence, to break away and score with Monty Maule running the length of the pitch to score in the corner. The conversion, on this occasion was unsuccessful, with Newport now having a comfortable 12 - 0 lead.
At 15 minutes the pressure from the All Blacks pack gave Llew Williams an opportunity to kick a penalty from inside the Newport half, which he incredibly successfully completed
to make the score 12 - 3. As the first half drew to a close Bridgnorth turned the ball over from a Newport attack deep into their half and ran almost the length of the pitch, before the retreating Newport defence killed the ball. The resulting penalty was again successfully kicked through the posts to make it 12 - 6 at half time.
With the Shropshire All Blacks playing towards their favoured riverside end and still very much in the game, despite only having minimal pitch position and ball, both teams were still very much in the game. Both teams had received yellow cards in the first half with Bridgnorth having to play with only 13 players for a whole 8 minute duration. With both teams now back up to full strength the contest continued. An exchange of penalties saw the score move to 18 - 9 to Newport, however Bridgnorth were starting to gain better ball in better positions of the pitch. This territorial advantage paid off with 20 minutes remaining when good work by the All Blacks forward saw James Hill go over from short range. The resulting successful conversion saw the scores move to 18 - 16 to Newport, with the result still in the balance the victory was still in the grasp of both teams.
Moving into the last quarter of the game, it again saw Bridgnorth on the charge and good work again from the All Black defensive lineout saw a penalty awarded to Bridgnorth. With the chance for Bridgnorth to take the lead for the first time in the game, Llew Williams stuck the ball beautifully and it certainly had the legs, but with a cruel turn the ball moved to the left in the wind and stuck the upright. Bridgnorth were now on a roll and a good catch and drive saw the Bridgnorth pack driving towards the Newport line. The ball was moved into a great attacking position, with the All Black looking to take the victory. Great defence form the Newport defensive line saw them create enough pressure for Bridgnorth to knock the ball on and the momentum was taken away from them. Things were made worse when Bridgnorth received a red card, reducing their numbers again to 14.
Newport took this hard earned opportunity to take control of the ball and move in deep into the Bridgnorth half, where they managed the game to its conclusion.
On the balance of play, throughout the whole game, a big and powerful Newport team deserved their victory. They very much had the most possession of the ball and looked after it for large phases of play. Bridgnorth however showed a great deal of resilience to stay within touching distance and could of stolen the victory with a little more luck.
We wish Newport all the very best in the next round of the cup, which sees them travelling to Bournville and look forward to two more leagues games later in the season.
This week sees Bridgnorth entertain Derby, again at the Edgar Davies Ground 3.00 kick off. It would be great to get a large crowd there to “bang the boards” for the Bridgnorth lads again, as they continued to work hard to gain that important first home win of the season.
Director of Rugby