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Longton 1st XV 0 v 43 Newbold on Avon

For their final fixture of the season Longton travelled  to Newbold, who have been similarly relegated to themselves, and with a much-weakened  team suffered a loss by 43 – 0pts.

The visitors were without Craig Wilson, Pete Wilshaw, George Glenn, Sam Evans, Sam Longstraff, Eddie Askew, Mikey Allen, Eroni Leqeuwei and Liam Price and so fielded a young, inexperienced squad. They were behind from the first minute as Newbold caught them cold by moving the ball left and right before finding a gap up the middle to touch down under the posts. The simple conversion made it 7 – 0pts. The hosts continued to hold the upper hand with their heavy pack pushing the Longton eight off their own ball. Longton were penalised on 8mins. some 30m. from their own line, Newbold slotting over the easy kick to make it 10 – 0pts.

The inexperienced Longton squad were battling gamely with Scott Rawlings throwing out some long missed passes to his wingers and Jack Newton-Taylor in particular who always looked threatening on the left wing. Then, after 15mins. Newbold scored their second try. The ball was chipped over the advancing defenders and a home player was first to it to touch down, the fine conversion making the score 17 – 0pts.

Longton managed to win some possession at this point and built several promising attacks, being helped by the opposition being frequently penalised for offside, one such occasion bringing a yellow card for one of the centres on 28mins. Then, just 2 minutes later another yellow card for one of the second row. However, Longton could not take full advantage of the two extra men as Newbold defended manfully against a number of attacks.

As half-time approached the Longton forwards were picking and driving towards the home line but just as they were within 2 metres of the goal line they lost the ball and Newbold cleared the ball to safety.

As the 35th. minute approached Longton lost powerful second row, Martin Ellis to a twisted ankle; although the pitch was covered in a lush blanket of grass, if anything a little too long, the surface beneath was very hard and heavily rutted. Half-time arrived with no further scoring.

Newbold kicked off the second half with Longton immediately dropping the ball. From the scrum the hosts moved the ball left but a loose pass was snapped up by Grant Hallam who set off on a sprint for the opposition line from his own half. Just as he looked as though he was in at the corner he was brought down with a superb diving tackle. Then, Jack Newton-Taylor set off on a fine run from his own half and looked like touching down in the left corner but, again, the Newbold defence managed to halt him within a metre of the try line.

The home side showed how to finish when a centre broke though from halfway to score under the posts, the conversion making it 24 – 0pts. Two minutes later Newbold broke right to score again, the conversion making the score 31 – 0pts. Only 5 more minutes passed before Newbold scored again in the corner to make it 36 – 0pts. The final try, resulting from several missed tackles, made the final score 43 – 0pts. to bring to an end Longton’s long tenure at this level. The team on the day battled bravely throughout but lacked the experience to match their lively opponents.

M Wheat

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