Huge win for Reds in Cup tie!
By Jo firstname.lastname@example.org
Solid win over Peebles takes Newton Stewart to QFs
Newton Stewart RFC 35 – 20 Peebles RFC
National League Cup Round 2
Saturday 24th November 2018
Newton Stewart RFC welcomed Peebles RFC to Bladnoch Park last weekend for the 2nd round of the National League Cup. Peebles play a league above Newton Stewart, and are a club of long-standing good reputation, so the Reds went into the match as definite under-dogs.
It was clear within a few minutes of kick-off however, that the under-dogs had no intention of lying down to have their tummies rubbed. Newton Stewart were fastest out of the blocks and immediately looked dangerous, pressurising Peebles and putting themselves in good positions. The Reds’ line out, which has been unreliable at best so far this season, fired perfectly and provided a great platform for their attack.
With ten minutes played Newton Stewart were awarded a penalty within kicking distance for a Peebles infringement at the breakdown. Fraser Morton (captain) took the kick and put his team 3-0 ahead.
The game was fast-paced and exciting to watch. The Reds were the most dominant team throughout the first half and gave Peebles very little ball. The visitors lost a player to the sin-bin after twenty minutes, when he was penalised for dangerous play.
A few minutes later Newton Stewart won another penalty when Peebles were deemed be holding on. Second row William McCornick was instrumental at the breakdown for the Reds, a constant threat for Peebles. Morton secured another three points to put Newton Stewart 6-0 ahead.
From the restart Thomas MacDonald (playing back row, but usually starting hooker) made a superb break, earning extra yards with an impressive leg drive.
Another penalty came on the half hour mark when Peebles didn’t roll away from the tackle, but Morton missed this one narrowly left.
The Reds’ confidence was growing all the time now. With five minutes left to play in the first half they found themselves with a line-out about 20 metres out from the Peebles try line. Securing the ball they set a driving maul and started grinding down the pitch. The maul rumbled to 5 metres out, then the forwards started to ‘pick and go’. William McCornick received the ball and powered over the line like a battering ram to score the first try of the match. Morton converted, 13-0.
Just before the half-time whistle a near carbon copy of the previous move came again. Creating a driving maul from the line-out, Newton Stewart pushed towards the try line once more. The maul was illegally pulled down by Peebles and the referee awarded a penalty try to give the Reds a 20-0 lead going into the interval.
The visitors came out fighting in the second half however and looked to get themselves into this match. They were awarded a penalty early on and got themselves on the scoreboard.
The roles of the teams appeared to have reversed now and it was Peebles who pressurised the Red try line. A long spell of attack from Peebles eventually wore down the stoical Newton Stewart defences and earned themselves a converted try, 20-10.
A Newton Stewart maul came inches for the Peebles try line again a few minutes later, but the ball was lost at the last. This led to a penalty for the Reds however when Peebles were put under pressure deep in their own half, William McCornick once again winning the battle of the breakdown. Morton secured another three points.
Peebles came on the attack again now and burst the gain line. Russell Gaw looked to make an important tackle to contain the threat, but left his arm a little high resulting in his receiving a yellow card. The Reds were now forced to defend their line for a long spell with only fourteen men and despite a valiant attempt to keep the visitors out, Peebles ultimately scored their second try to narrow the gap to 23-17.
Just when it looked like Newton Stewart were flagging, a new burst of energy emerged from them. Winger Liam Brawls collected the ball from the restart and broke up the pitch. William McCornick was there in support and made a fantastic carry, using his hand-off to keep the defence at bay long enough to allow centre Jack Gaw to shout from his left shoulder. Collecting the pass the youngster tore up the pitch, backing his pace and scoring an important five points at this stage in the match.
With ten minutes left to play Newton Stewart took possession once again. David Gaw chipped the ball over for the backs to chase but it looked just a fraction too long. Morton sped upfield however and the ball took a favourable bounce straight backwards into his hands to allow him to run in another try and nail the lid on the coffin of the game at 35-17.
Peebles scored another penalty in the dying minutes to put the final score at 35-20.
This was a huge result for Newton Stewart in a game that few would have expected them to win. With a long list of players injured or unavailable for selection this week, it is testament to the strength and depth of the squad. With many individuals having to play out of their usual positions in this game, the versatility and choices available to coach Martin Wallace appear to be growing.
William McCornick’s performance in this game was exceptional. He dominated the breakdown, scored a try and created another. Stand-off David Gaw also had a solid game, leading the backs well and showing his creativity with well placed kicks.
Whilst his brother William could well have won Man of the Match, the award is this week given to scrum-half Robbie McCornick. His tenacity at the scrums, pressurising Peebles at every turn was instrumental in disrupting their fluidity. His strength in the tackle, holding up players on a more than one occasion, made him a constant thorn in the side of his opposition.
Newton Stewart are back in action at home next weekend, resuming their league campaign against Haddington RFC. Kick-off is at 2pm.
Team: Jamie Muir, David Adams, Fraser Morton (capt), Jack Gaw, Liam Brawls, David Gaw, Robbie McCornick, Martin Wallace, Ross Campbell, Gavin Freeland, Connal McDonald, Duncan Skimming, William McCornick, Russell Gaw, Thomas MacDonald. Subs: Richard Fiskin, Malachy Wright, Ronan McDonald