Newcastle travelled to Wolverhampton which should give an indication as to Newcastle’s progress, as Wolves were relegated to Midlands 3 West (North) last season. The side saw several changes to the side which beat Woodrush last weekend saw Lee Williams return as hooker, Jimmy Dodkins start as blindside flanker, Mick Oliver in at 2nd row, Pat O’Neill replace the injured centre Jonno Phillips, Tom Westwood on the wing and Liam Bailey back at full back.
Newcastle started brightly and it was not long before the early pressure saw a Wolves player killing the ball in the ruck. Fly half Ronan Evans kicked the resultant penalty from centre field. On ten minutes good line out work saw the Newcastle forwards make good yards with a rolling maul before releasing the backs, centre Pat O’Neil had options but unselfishly drew the defender and offloaded the ball to Evans on the loop who scored in the corner, but he could not convert his own try. On the half hour mark quick ruck ball saw centre Carl Twigg pass out of the tackle to the support run of hooker Lee Williams who bulldozed his way through two tackles to score just left of the posts. Evans added the conversion. As the half was drawing to a close Wolves missed the opportunity to get the score board ticking when a penalty in front of the posts was dragged wide. The last action of the half saw Newcastle’s centre Pat O’Neil yellow carded for offside.
Half time Wolverhampton 0 Newcastle 15
Newcastle didn’t take long to start scoring again, a line out infringement saw Evans slot home the penalty. The illusive running of Wolves full back was their most potent weapon and from open play he broke down the wing and when full back Liam Bailey slipped trying to make the tackle, he ran over for the try, missing the conversion. An injury to hooker Williams saw Capodici called to action. After a scrum penalty on the half way line, Wolves were then marched back 10 yards for talking back at the ref, whilst scrum half Jones was trying to get the ball back, the Wolves hooker started pushing his weight around which saw the frustrated referee brandishing a yellow card. Evans scored the penalty. Wolves hooker returned but two minutes later the Wolves full back was yellow carded. Captain Chris Miller led by example and after gathering the ball from an overthrown Wolves lineout on halfway, raced deep into the Wolves 22, where quick ruck ball saw scrum half Dan Jones step the first defender and with the full back still in the sin bin waltz over the line under the posts for an easy conversion for Evans. Wolves kept on fighting and their diminutive scrum half scampered through for a converted try. With the clock ticking down Wolves kicked a penalty into the corner, from the lineout a rolling maul saw the ball pop to Wolves scrum half to duck under the desperate tackles to score in the corner, conversion missed, and the ref blew up for full time.
Full Time Wolverhampton 17 Newcastle 28
Newcastle Tait, Williams, Fowler, Blunt, Oliver, Dodkins, Scott, Miller(cap); Jones, Evans, Westwood, Twigg, O’Neil, Edwards, Bailey. Reps Capodici, Conareare, Martin.
Tries Evans Williams Jones
Pens Evans (3)
Cons Evans (2)