Newbold start new year with victory to end Stratford's home record

Sutton Coldfield are this weekend's visitors to Parkfield Road

Dan O'Brien was in form with the boot, helping Newbold to beat Stratford 18-12

PiCTURES BY STEVE SMITH

Newbold started the new year with an 18-12 win after travelling further down the Avon to Stratford taking with them a large band of vocal traveling supporters , writes Phil Fereday.

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Stratford had a proud record of not being beaten at home for a year and with the scalp of beating run away league leaders Lichfield last time out, so Newbold needed to build on their improved performance last time out.

Ben Thompson in Newbold's win at Stratford

Stratford took the lead against the run of play, but Newbold pounded away at their defence and after a series of pick and drive from the forwards the ball was released out for Dan O’Brien, who broke through to score under the post, 7-7.

Moving into the second quarter neither side could not breakdown their defences in what was proving to be an enthralling match and the home side scored after a driving maul for 12-7.

Again Newbold had to play catch up and in the last play of the first half. Newbold worked their way along the touchline after a series of penalties committed by the home side and from a well-executed line out catch and drive Ben Dawes drove over in the corner to make it 12-12 at half time.

Expectations were that more tries would be scored in the second half, but it was a ding dong battle between two well matched sides that had the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Ben Dawes makes ground for Newbold in their opening win of the new year

A penalty by O’Brien put Newbold ahead for the first time. It was good to see the welcome return of Ricky Reid coming on as sub making his first appearance of the season after a serious injury.

In the final stages a tiring Stratford conceded another penalty which O’Brien converted. It would be unfair to single out individuals but better to say that this was a fine team performance by Newbold with every member playing his part.

Newbold host Sutton Coldfield this weekend in another Midlands 1 West game.

Huw Thomas on a run in Newbold's 18-12 victory