Saturday saw Mens Own take a bus filled with players and supporters up to Leicester to take on Old Newtonians in the final league game of the season.
Old Newtonians needed to draw or win to lift the title and nothing less than a win would see Mens Own win the league so there was all to play for. The scene was set for a good day out.
The game was hard fought from the start and it was very much a forward battle for most of the first half with neither set of backs seeing much of the ball.
The first 20 min period saw the referee award no less than 10 penalties to Mens Own but despite several long verbal warnings there was no sign of a yellow card to stop Newts continually killing play.
After 20min a missed penalty by both sides were the only chances to be seen. Finally on 26 min Matt Brace opened the scoring with a penalty to give the Own a 0-3 lead which stood up until half time.
Dan Heath (second row) had to leave the game on 35min due to injury and was unable to take any further part.
Own had the better of the line outs and the scrums had been even but the loss of Dan in the scrum gave Newts the edge in the scrum. Matt Fowler came on to replace Dan and gave a good account of himself.
8min into the second half the first and only yellow card of the day lamely produced and the M. O. stand-off was binned for a simple off side decision.
On 50min during the "bin" period following pressure from Newts one of their backs choose a good line of running and showed great pace to score a nice try to give Newts a 5-3 lead.
After 57min following a period of strong pressure by M. O. they were finally rewarded with a try with hooker Craig Wilson being driven over in the left hand corner. This was added to on 60min with a 2nd try in the left hand corner following good play by the backs resulting in Gareth Hughes who came on to replace winger Gary Haynes (injured) scoring a nice try for a score of 5-13
Newts scored the final try on 70min to make it 10-13 and although Mens Own held on to the lead up until the final minute continual pressure in the scrums led to Own conceding a penalty on their 22 in front of the posts which Newts converted to see the final whistle end the game at 13-13.
The Mens Own squad gave all that could have been asked of them and played well enough to have won a very keenly contested physical game but it was not to be and the final score of 13-13 means Old Newtonians have won the league and Mens Own come second on points difference.
Providing there is no league re-structuring to take place both eams have gained promotion to Midlands 3 East (South).
Despite the disappointment of not winning the league a great day out was enjoyed by all.
On behalf of the players I would like to thank all the supporters who made the journey to Leicester to support on Saturday and also to those who have been with us throughout the season.
Report by John Wilson.
1st XV: Marc Simmons, Danny Golden, Stuart Brown, Mark Newton, Gary Haynes, Matt Brace, John Wootton, Nick Briddon, Craig Wilson, Ian Evans (Capt), Dan Heath, Chris Gould, Ben Briddon, Tom Hankins, Steve Ennew.
Replacements Used: Matt Fowler & Gareth Hughes.
Tries: Craig Wilson & Gareth Hughes.
Penalty Kick: Matt Brace.
Yellow Card: Matt Brace
Man of the Match: The Squad!
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