Rugby: Newcastle's Staffordshire Cup hopes are ended
NEWCASTLE missed out on a place in the Staffs Intermediate Cup final after going down 25-19 following a dramatic finale against league rivals Willenhall.
Newcastle, who are chasing Willenhall at the top of Midlands Three West (North), twice came close to stealing a tight semi-final late on.
But on one occasion the referee was in Matt Hobson's way as he crashed over for a try and the play was called back for a Newcastle scrum.
And then Castle's backs were under the posts when a knock-on cost them a near certain try and conversion.
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Newcastle had given a strong account of themselves throughout a game in which they were twice down to 14 men following yellow cards.
Sam Evans had opened their points scoring with the first of their three tries when going over following a fine break by Ollie Smalley and Ash Martin.
Wes Conaerare then extended their lead with a superb 20-metre catch and drive for their second try.
And the half-time whistle sounded with Newcastle leading 19-11 thanks to Dom Ellerton's interception try for the rampant home side.
Willenhall exploited those yellow cards, however, to eventually take the game with three penalties and an unconverted try.
STOKE were eventually overpowered in the closing stages of their 32-8 defeat at home to Midlands One West leaders Old Halesonians.
The game remained a contest entering the last quarter-of-an-hour as Stoke only trailed 15-8 and were showing signs of bridging the gap.
But despite excellent tackling throughout from the likes of number eight Jordan Grimshaw and blind-side flanker Carl Williams, it was the visitors scoring a try and a penalty try to claim victory.
The league leaders had also started the afternoon impressively by generating an overlap to score the game's first try.
Stoke skipper Chris Rowley responded with a penalty as both sides produced good rugby in poor conditions, but Old Halesonians nosed further clear before the break to claim a useful 15-3 advantage.
Still Stoke came at their visitors and their reward, after a string of drives and mauls, was a pushover try in which several players claimed the vital touch over the line.
But from 15-8 down Stoke were unable to pressure an Old Halesonians side hitting the throttle in the final stages to make it 19 wins from their 22 league fixtures.
JOHNNY Watson-Jones scored all of STAFFORD'S points during their emphatic 46-14 defeat at Wolverhampton in Midlands Two West (North).
He struck twice in the second half by converting a couple of his own tries to keep Stafford's hopes flickering against powerful hosts and the unfavourable elements.
Watson-Jones twice broke through with fervour to hit the try line with back-to-back scores and conversions to open up the possibility of an unlikely comeback.
But Wolverhampton then began to re-imposed their superiority by applying sufficient pressure to claim another three tries and put the game firmly to bed.
Stafford might have guessed they were in for a tough afternoon when conceding three tries in the first quarter.
Stafford hit back through the likes of Vinnie Hogan, but it was Wolverhampton who continued to stack up the points in the opening period as another two tries followed to make it 29-0 by the break.
PETE White's birthday try couldn't prevent LINLEY & KIDSGROVE falling to a battling 25-17 defeat at home to Parkonians in South Lancs/Cheshire Three.
White completed Linley's try scoring following smart work from his pack in the second half.
Carl Spruce had earlier opened their account by going over in the corner before Parkonians hit back with three tries for a 19-5 interval lead. Nigel Joynson scored their second early in the second period and ahead of White's timely try, but Parkonians added two penalties and resisted Linley's late pressure.