Midlands 2 West (N) 
4th December 2021, 2:15 pm
Newcastle
8 - 9
Longton 1st XV
Newcastle Rugby Club

Match Report

Longton just came out on top at Newcastle by 9pts to 8 in a game that is best forgotten. It was full of errors and controversial decisions.

Longton had around 80% of territory, most of which  was spent in the Newcastle “22” but a combination of good defending and poor execution  by Longton meant that the victory failed to notch a bonus point or even a try.

On a cold windy day Longton soon went on the attack and Grant Hallam kicked a penalty after just 2mins. to put Longton 3pts. up. With 7mins. gone Newcastle lost a flanker for throwing a punch. At this point the bigger Longton pack should have totally dominated the set pieces but in fairness to Newcastle their forwards managed to get the ball away despite going backwards.

Nothing really happened until the 30th. minute although Longton continued to dominate territory. However, Newcastle scored the only try of the game in the 32nd. minute. The ball was spun out wide left to allow the last man to dive over in the corner. The difficult failed but the hosts now led by 5-3pts. as half-time arrived.

The second half followed much the same pattern with a high error count, particularly by Longton who could just not make their superior possession and territory show on the scoreboard. After just 5mins. of the half Longton scored their second penalty through Grant Hallam giving them a 6-5pts. lead. Newcastle saw a couple of penalty kicks at goal go wide. Then, the next of a series of penalties was then in front of the posts; this time the kick was successful putting Newcastle 8-6pts in front.

The clock was now approaching full-time with Longton once again attacking into the home territory as their forwards surged towards the line and appeared to go over for the winning try but the referee ruled that a Newcastle got under the ball as it was being placed; it was difficult to see how they could have done as the ball was driven over by a pile of Longton forwards. As the clock ran into injury time Longton surged into the home “22” Again, they looked like driving the ball over but Newcastle conceded a penalty only 8m. from their try line and Grant Hallam put over the straightforward kick to put Longton back in front at 9-8pts.

Newcastle kicked off and after several driving Longton mauls Grant Hallam kicked the ball into touch to bring proceedings to a close and Longton picking up 4pts.

Mick Wheat.