Whitchurch 24

Newbold-on-Avon 21

WHITCHURCH Rugby Club secured victory against Newbold-on-Avon on Saturday, in what could simplistically be described as a game of two halves.

Newbold took the lead through two penalties that were kicked in the first quarter of an hour.

They then were subjected to a battering by the Whitchurch team who pressed and pressured the visitors, and it looked like a try would come at any time.

On the 25-minute mark, Whitchurch had Newbold penned on their own line when the ball was thrown wide with a huge overlap.

The Avon winger gambled with an attempt to intercept and could not believe that the ball stuck to his hands for him to run the full length of the pitch to score under the posts despite a valiant effort to get back from Tom Davies.

The home side continued to pressure their visitors but a mixture of poor handling and bad decisions meant that the half-time whistle blew with them still trailing.

The second half started with a strong wind at the home backs and it took them less than three minutes to score their first try through a clever chip through by Joe Mullock who was able to touch down himself. Danny Nicholas converted to close the gap to just six points.

Seven minutes later, Tom Wellesbury was replaced by Ian Hockenhull who made an immediate impact finishing off a rolling maul to cross the line and touch down. Nicholas did the honours to give Whitchurch the lead for the first time.

Newbold then held a mini-revival and were given a contentious penalty which their confident kicker steered between the posts and the home side had to up their game again.

They did so in impressive fashion and forced a penalty which was kicked by Nicholas to retake the lead.

The clock appeared to be up but extra time was being played and in the 83rd minute Nathan Horton picked up at the back of an invigorated scrum to swerve past a host of defenders to score close in. Nicholas kicked the conversion and everyone thought that that was it for the day.

However, even more extra time was being played and Newbold ripped through a Whitchurch defence who already appeared to be in the showers to score out wide, with the conversion being missed.

Whitchurch face Old Halesonians away this week and must get their mindset back to overcome a team they easily swamped at home earlier this season.