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1st XV - Match centre

Newcastle (Staffs)
Old Saltleians
Sat 11 Mar 15:00 - Midlands Division - Midlands 2 West (North) Full time

Well deserved salts win

Salts ease relegation worry with great win

Newcastle (Staffs)RFC v Old Saltleians RFC
3pm Sat 11th Mar 2017 Venue – The Pavillion, Lilleshall Road
1.R. Martin, 2. A Smith, 3. D. Woodcock, 4. R. Lee, 5. A. lee (Capt) 6. P. Lee, 7. L. Turner, 8. D. Fentham, 9. T. Lee,
10. J. Knibbs, 11. T. Burrows, 12. J. Mason, 13. W Simpson, 14. Matt Bryant, 15. C. Southam, 16. M Dhanak, 17. M. Ho,
18. Martin Hughes

This 12 try frenetic game of rugby left the spectators gasping for breath as both sides attacked from the first whistle and scored the last points in two mins of time over the clock as Salts kept the ball alive. With a final score of 38 – 40, the visitors executed a smash and grab by scoring 12 points in the last 4 minutes and earning 5 valuable points and leapfrogging Newcastle in the league standing.
The scoring started immediately after the ball was turned over following the Old Salts kick off, quick hands down the left 15m channel with Tom Burrows bursting past two defenders and diving over in the left-hand corner, cleanly converted by Will Simpson.
2 mins Newcastle 0 – 7 Old Salts
A second try went begging shortly after as Burrows took the inside line into trouble when his pace outside could have capped a 3rd minute 40m run with another try. However, it was Newcastle who struck next, an excellent cross kick from the 10 in right midfield to their left wing which was caught on the run by the winger who ran in for their first try
4 mins Newcastle 7 – 7 Old Salts
A crash ball through the Old Salts midfield on their 10m and a good offload, almost immediately after the restart, saw Newcastle take the lead on 8 minutes.
8 mins Newcastle 14 – 7 Old Salts
This was not a game for the faint hearted and understandably mistakes were made by both teams as they continued to throw caution to the wind in their efforts to cement their safety in the bottom half of the league. A period of robust interchanges as the Newcastle pack doubled up on each drive to gain ground, however spills and turnovers followed solid set pieces and penalties kicked to touch. The scrum marginally going Newcastle’s way but once again the line out was dominated by Old Salts for some good gains. Another fine run inside by Burrows inside the Newcastle half in the 5 and 15m channel drew solid defense to halt his run but a neat offload to Arran Smith 7m out gave the equalizer to Old Salts.
22 mins Newcastle 14 –14 Old Salts.
The next 15 minutes was a war of attrition as the packs tried to dominate in the loose, a touch too energetically by one Newcastle player as on 30 mins Newcastle number 8 was red carded as the referee saw him throwing a punch in the ruck zone. Both sides continued to battle and Newcastle’s crash ball was proving hard to stop. It was with 39 mins on the clock that blind side, Paul Lee, transgressed the offside by chopping down the Newcastle 9 as he quickly took a tap on a scrum free kick. Smothering the 9, Lee was yellow carded for this professional foul. Another crash ball by Newcastle put them ahead at half time, taking full advantage of the yellow card.
Half Time Newcastle 21 – 14 Old Salts
The flow of tries continued in the 2nd half with both sides down to 14 men and the midfield open, Newcastle increased their lead on 49 mins again following a crash ball through the centre, a missed conversion but Newcastle moved further ahead.
49 mins Newcastle 26 – 14 Old Salts
The game stumbled through a period of midfield collisions with turnovers and penalties going both ways, but Old Salts back to full strength scored twice from Burrows and Bryant to lead for the first time since the 4th minute with two converted tries
58 mins Newcastle 26 – 28 Old Salts
It was pure guts and determination and calls for ‘work harder’ that rewarded Newcastle with two more tries, another unconverted and two missed penalty kicks as they dominated the next 15 minutes and pushed themselves 10 points clear with 5 minutes to go, however 8 points went begging from the boot.
73 mins Newcastle 38 – 28 Old Salts
Old Salts dug deep and kicked into gear again with fierce rucking, good line out work and hard pressing on the right wing with some good support running and offloading in the face of the defense. With 2 minutes left on the clock, the continued pressure from Old Salts and fatigue from 14 man Newcastle started to tell and Dan Fentham drove over for a great team try on the right hand side 5 metres in from touch. An unusual missed conversion put Old Salts within 5 points and importantly in possession of a losing bonus point and a 4 try bonus point.
78 mins Newcastle 38 – 33 Old Salts
This was not enough for Old Salts as they strove to press home their dominance. A scrum won against the head with the clock in the red was the start of the final drama as Old Salts regained possession when all Newcastle needed was to boot the ball dead. Drive followed drive as they beat at the door for another 2 minutes around the Newcastle 22m until it finally gave way as Luke Turner crashed through the centre, breaking two tackles giving Newcastle a taste of their own medicine and securing the draw at 38 all. Will Simpson had the final say with a magnificent conversion under intense pressure to take 5 invaluable points home to Water Orton.
Final Score Newcastle 38 – 40 Old Saltleians
Man of the Match is Tom Burrows pace and power in bucket loads, his sure hands and elusive running at its best. Scoring two tries and making one with a great line breaking run for Arran Smith to drop over the line.
Line Outs – Salts won all of their own ball but had three crooked throw-ins, they kicked penalties to touch and dominated They stole two from Newcastle and had none robbed by the opposition.
Scrums – Salts hung in against a good Newcastle scrummage. Lost two against the head but against a 7 man scrum the last 50 minutes were mainly Old Salts in charge until with prop Martin Hughes on at tighthead in the final 10 minutes his power created the most significant of moments when they won the most important one against the head to keep the ball live and punish the home side in over time.
Captain, Adam Lee, said “We knew we had a tough challenge ahead of us. Key players unavailable and a number of player recovering from illness. We were far from our best defensively. coming back from behind twice, Shows the character this team has. We have more important games to come and I'm confident our team will fight through those together, as we did today! ."

Quilter Kids First Champions winner – November: Hinckley RFC

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Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
6. Kidderminster 22 54
7. Veseyans 22 42
8. Old Saltleians 22 42
9. Newcastle (Staffs) 22 37
10. Old Yardleians 22 37
11. Stafford 22 30
12. Shrewsbury 22 13

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