NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION 2 - HERE WE COME!!
By Jo firstname.lastname@example.org
Promotion secured with bonus point win against Carrick RFC
Newton Stewart RFC secured league promotion last weekend with a comprehensive victory against Carrick RFC in the final home game of the season. They needed just a single point from this match to put themselves out of reach of their closest rivals and a great crowd turned out to watch the Reds in the bid for glory.
From the kick off the visitors secured possession and began trying to push their way upfield. Some solid Red defence made sure there was no way through and after a few minutes Newton Stewart turned the ball over and back row James Wallace took off up the park with scrum-half Robbie McCornick in support. Both carried well to put the Reds only 10 metres out with the rest of the cavalry arriving behind. The ball was sent out through the hands now, with prop Martin Wallace giving the final pass to stand-off David Gaw who found his gap to score the opening try. The conversion kick was narrowly missed by centre Jack Gaw.
There was a spell of scrappier play for the next quarter of an hour with both teams settling into the game and trying to contend with the referee’s regular interruptions. Carrick maintained a decent spell of possession and put pressure on the Newton Stewart defensive line, but once again couldn’t find a chink in the armour.
With twenty-five minutes played the Reds came on the attack once more, patiently going through phases and trying to stretch the visitor’s defence. After a prolonged assault David Gaw found his way through for the second time and Jack Gaw added the extras for a 12-0 lead.
Only minutes later the scoreboard changed again when the Newton Stewart acting captain, Fraser Morton, snatched an interception and used his pace to gallop upfield for a try in the left corner. This conversion was just short with the strong breeze blowing directly against the kick.
Carrick took possession again from the restart and once more ventured deep in the Newton Stewart half. With some dogged determination the forwards inched their way resolutely upfield until their prop ultimately scored in the far corner, with a good conversion from the full-back making the score-line 17-7.
Just five minutes remained in the first half, but the Reds looked intent on securing their promotion before half-time! Needing one more try to guarantee a ‘bonus point’ they went forwards in attack more. Russell Morton almost got away up the right wing, but unfortunately knocked the ball on in the tackle. But with the next opportunity Newton Stewart exploded upfield, James Wallace bulldozing his way through the Carrick defence to score. A huge cheer went up from the onlooking crowd and Jack Gaw slotted the conversion kick through too to put the Reds 24-7 ahead going into half-time.
The second half had some scrappy moments at times, but Newton Stewart remained in control and extended their lead also.
David Gaw put in a great kick for territory, the strong wind behind them now helping it with a few extra yards. From this position deep in the Carrick half back row Alan Ferrie made a superb break, running over the top of his opponents before passing to Calum Gaw who ran an excellent support line and got the try for his efforts.
Full-back Russell Morton claimed the last two tries of the game, linking well with David Gaw on both occasions. The latter saw Gaw put a great kick over the top of the Carrick defences. Morton was fastest man onto the ball so scooped it up and ran away under the posts. Both of his tries were converted by Jack Gaw, whose kicking was remarkably consistent given the strength of the breeze, to give a final score of 45-7.
Stand out performances from this game included David Gaw who seemed to be involved in every score, and James McMiken who was ferocious in defence! Man of the Match however was Alan Ferrie whose surging breaks in attack and reliable tackling made him a key player in the forwards’ battleground.
This promotion in National League Division 2 marks a historic moment for Newton Stewart RFC as it is their highest ever league standing. The current 1st XV have an average age of just 21 which makes their success all the more remarkable.
Graham Morton, President of Newton Stewart RFC, said of the achievement, “Saturday was a momentous day for the club, with Newton Stewart RFC gaining promotion up into the third top rugby league in Scotland. This is the highest league we have been in since we began in 1984. The win over Carrick RFC was built on hard work on the field by the players and by the support of all our coaches and volunteers off the field. It is all the more heartening as most of our very young team are home-grown talent – a testament to all the efforts of our youth development section over the last few years. We are looking forward to the new challenges that next season brings.”
1st XV coach Martin Wallace said after the game: “I am very proud of the players. They have been a credit to themselves and the club this season. They have reacted positively to any setbacks during the league campaign and shown great composure in the last few weeks to secure promotion. There is still a lot to come from this young squad and we look forward to a short break before preparing for life in National League Division 2!”
The final league game of the season is away to St Boswell’s RFC on Saturday 20th April, with the Newton Stewart RFC 7’s competition taking place the following week (Saturday 27th April) at Bladnoch Park.
Team: Russell Morton, Jamie Muir, Fraser Morton (captain), Jack Gaw, Liam Brawls, David Gaw, Robbie McCornick, Martin Wallace, Thomas MacDonald, Ronan McDonald, Duncan Skimming, Mark Craig, Alan Ferrie, Calum Gaw, James Wallace. Subs: Connal McDonald, Richard Fiskin, David Adams, James McMiken.