Newport hope to put the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a promotion play-off place by winning the North Midlands Cup for the third time against Bromsgrove at Dudley Kingswinford’s Heathbrook ground on Sunday May 13 (3.30pm).
Newport finished third in Midlands Premier level with Peterborough Lions on 102 points and with a vastly superior points difference. But Peterborough claimed the promotion play-off place by virtue of winning one more match than Newport.
Newport also missed out on a play-off place in Midlands One West, the division below Newport, which should make for an intriguing county cup final on Sunday.
“It’s great to have made the final again and with that comes the chance to end the season on a high although we are more than happy with what has been a fantastic season,” said Newport director of rugby Chris Wilde.
“We were a whisker away from clinching that second spot but that’s history now. All our focus is on putting together a performance on Sunday that will be good enough to repel the challenge of Bromsgrove who will be equally disappointed that they finished third in their league and missed out on an immediate return to level five.
“It’s a big day out for all the clubs on Finals Day with the atmosphere of a true rugby festival and the chance to get together with old friends from across the region.”
This will be the third meeting between Newport and Bromsgrove in a North Midlands Cup final Bromsgrove winning in 2001 and Newport in 2011. Newport won the cup again in 2014 and came agonisingly close again in 2016 when they missed out to Birmingham & Solihull,in scenes of confusion, on the more tries rule after the scores were level at 20-20 after 80 minutes.
“I think the confusion hurt more than the result with both sides preparing for extra time only to be told the result was already decided. Put it this way – “If we’re losing by three points with a minute to go on Sunday and Bromsgrove have scored more tries than us we won’t be kicking for goal this time.” Wilde said.
Newport will go into the final as favourites as the higher-ranked club but they will also be wary of Bromsgrove who were league opponents only two years ago.
“Bromsgrove will provide stiff competition. They always produce strong, competitive sides and Sunday will be a stern test,” Wilde said.
“Yes, we will go in as favourites but anything can happen on the day. We have finished the season with nine consecutive victories so why not make it ten?”
Newport will be without Will Roach, Sam Brown, Jack Price, wing Toby Mann – who recently helped the RAF win the Inter Services Championship – and Sam Hughes but Wilde is trusting in the depth of his squad.
“The season has already shown we have great strength in depth this year and we have quality replacements available,” he said.
Malvern, who have clinched promotion to Midlands One West next season will meet Old Saltleians in the North Midlands Shield final at Heathbrook on Sunday (1.30pm).
Ross on Wye will be attempting to retain the North Midlands Vase when they face Dudley Wasps in the final (11.15am).
Ross also won the competition in 2008 and 2009 while Dudley, who will be playing on their home ground on Sunday, won the Vase in 2011.
Each of the three North Midlands Cup competitions also has a Plate for sides beaten in the earlier rounds.
Droitwich, fresh from defeat by Camberley in the RFU Intermediate Cup final at Twickenham on Sunday, face Shrewsbury in the North Midlands Shield Plate final.
Old Halesonians and Bridgnorth meet in the North Midlands Cup Plate final (3.30pm) with Yardley & District and Greyhound competing for the North Midlands Vase Plate (11.15am).