Midlands 2 West (N) 
21st December 2019, 2:15 pm
0 - 38
Longton 1st XV
Newcastle Rugby Club

Match Report

Longton were visiting the Lilleshall Road home of Newcastle for the first time in many years and came away with a thumping 38-0pts. victory in a game that could easily have topped the 50 point mark had Longton not squandered several clear-cut scoring opportunities. As it was they scored 6 unanswered tries in front of a large and enthusiastic pre-Christmas crowd.

Longton were without regular half-backs Nicolas Gomtard, who has returned to his home in France for Christmas, and Sam Bedworth who was on an overseas holiday. Nevertheless, Charlie Rushton and Paul Green deputised superbly at scrum-half and fly-half respectively. The former and centre, Joe Hall, vied for the Man-of-the-Match award with No.8, Pete Wilshaw, as ever, being a forthright ball-carrier.

Longton began strongly and totally dominated the early exchanges. The pack won quick ball out to Paul Green who fed the supporting George Glenn who executed a perfect dummy to glide through the defence and touch down under the posts for the opening try after just 5 minutes. Joe Hall converted to make it 7-0pts.

The match followed a similar pattern with the Longton pack exerting great pressure on the Newcastle forwards at the scrum and challenged their lineout throws with Rich Thompson, Pete Wilshaw and Gareth Rawlings prominent. Despite 3 or 4 near misses by Longton the next score did not come until the 39th. minute with Newcastle trying their hardest to make good use of the scant possession they won through their lively backs.

Paul Green kicked a penalty deep into the home “22” and when the ball was passed quickly from the top of the lineout it was Joe Hall who burst through the middle to score Longton’s second try. He converted his own score to make the half-time score 14 -0pts.

The second half began with Newcastle showing more urgency as they ran the ball wide at pace but the Longton defence stood firm. The home side’s prospects were dimmed when their tight-head prop was yellow carded for an offence at the breakdown.

With 13mins. of the half gone Longton scored their third try when the forwards executed a perfect catch-and-drive at the lineout and the marched the Newcastle pack backwards for No.8, Pete Wilshaw, to touch down. Joe Hall converted with a fine kick to make it 21-0pts. and there now seemed no way back for the home team.

Longton continued to exert pressure on the Newcastle defence and in the 23rd. minute scored their 4th. and bonus point try. From a 5m. scrum the pack marched forward when replacement back row, Eroni Lequai, picked up and dived over. The conversion just went wide but it was now 26-0pts.

Just 4mins. later and Longton scored their 5th. try. This time it was more of a well-fashioned team try. The ball was moved quickly left through several pairs of hands before being switched back right from which centre, Joe Hall, burst powerfully through for a superb try. He could not convert his own try though but it was now 31-0pts.

Longton continued their domination of territory and possession and it was no surprise when they scored their 6th. and final try. The ball was flashed out right before being switched back to the middle where a strong running Rich Thompson was in support and he had an easy run in under the posts. Joe Hall converted to make the final score 38-0pts. with Longton picking up 5 valuable points away from home.

This was a satisfying way for Longton to go into the Christmas break with their next game being at home to Stafford in the New Year.

M. Wheat.