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Sutton Coldfield RFC 1st XV - Match centre

Sutton Coldfield
Birmingham & Solihull
Sat 12 Dec 14:15 - Midlands Division - National League 3 Midlands Full time

Match report - 12th Dec 2015

Sutton Coldfield 16 pts v Birmingham Solihull 18 pts

David Daniels
SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager

Match report - 12th Dec 2015

Sutton Coldfield 16 pts v Birmingham Solihull 18 pts

National League 3 Midlands

Last weekend Sutton welcomed the return of two of their stalwarts from their all conquering team of previous seasons, when Sutton not only won promotion to National League 3 but also reached the playoffs for promotion to National 2 in each of their first two seasons... but even the reintroduction of Mark Rayner and former captain Dave Edwards could not turn around Sutton's ill fated season as the game slipped from Sutton's grasp in the fourth quarter and they conceded a winning margin of 16-8 in the final 20 minutes to agonisingly lose 18-16 to the last kick of the game, giving relief to fellow strugglers Birmingham Solihull.

With Dave Edwards starting at outside centre in place of Ollie Chitnis, who unfortunately failed a fitness test just before the match and Mark Rayner starting on the right wing before moving to his more familiar role at scrum half in the second half, Sutton received the kick off with the wind in their favour for the first half... and within 5 minutes they took good advantage of the strong wind when flyhalf Alex White launched a long penalty kick into touch in the Birmingham 22 but unfortunately the first Sutton lineout throw was misdirected and Birmingham stole the ball. However the clearing kick stayed in field and the visitors were penalised in the resulting broken play as they followed up the swirling kick, which had been gathered by Sutton. Although 50 metres out with the angle, flyhalf Alex White judged the kick perfectly to land the penalty and give Sutton a deserved 3-0 lead after 8 minutes of play.

Playing against a difficult and gusting wind rather than kick Birm/Solihull tended to run everything out of defence in their own half and their enterprise paid off midway through the opening period when they drove play into the Sutton 22. After successive scrums under the Sutton posts the visitors ran the ball left and a clever grubber kick by flyhalf half Mitch McGhan, put the ball behind the Sutton defenders for left wing Nyle Becckett to race in to claim a well worked try giving the visitors a 3-5 lead 16 minutes into the game.

The next period of play saw strong Sutton scrummaging and midway through the half the under pressure Birm/Solihull loose head prop was yellow carded for pulling down at the scrum and as Sutton increased the pressure seeking to punish their opponents with a try the visitors suffered another yellow card as their winger was carded for preventing release of the ball 5 metres out. But all Sutton could show for their numerical advantage was 3 points from a second penalty by Alex White from in front of the post, 25 metre out.

The penalty gave Sutton a 6-5 lead, which they took into the break feeling they needed more as they returned to face the strong wind during the crucial final 40 minute period, which would bring the first half of the season to an end but strong attacking play by Sutton straight from the restart put Birm/Solihull under pressure and excellent back play swung the ball from right to left across the face of the Birm/Solihull posts allowing fullback Nathan Burchell to enter the line and send left wing Miles Gregory weaving into the corner for an outstanding try. The difficult conversion drifted wide but the score extended Sutton's lead to 11-5 with 10 minutes of the second half played.

However, as in previous games Sutton were found to be vulnerable again following the restart when the ball was driven deep into Sutton territory. A wayward misdirected clearance kick by the home side fell short and Sutton were penalised as they tried to retrieve the situation in front of the posts, allowing Mitch McGhan to close the score to 11-8 just 2 minutes after the Sutton score.

Kicked back into life Sutton responded well to the temporary set back and with good enterprising play down the right wing space was created for fullback Nathan Burchell to work his magic with a try in the right corner. Again the wind deflected the well directed conversion and the score moved on to 16-8 with 25 minutes left to play.

From this promising position for Sutton the game started to slip away, when on 30 minutes Sutton were yellow carded for a high tackle and they were punished further when a Birmingham penalty pushed play deep into the Sutton 22. Successive drives then put Sutton under increasing pressure before no6 Matt Spink broke free to score under the posts giving Mitch McGhan an easy conversion to bring Birmingham/Solihull to within 1 point at 16-15 with 5 minutes to play.

Shortly after the restart Sutton compounded their problems when they received a second yellow card reducing them to 13 men for the remainder of the game.

To their credit the 13 men of Sutton defended their slender lead heroically but as the seconds ticked by Sutton were adjudged to be off side in the middle of the field 40 metres from goal giving flyhalf Mitch McGhan the chance to win the match with the last kick of a close fought bottom of the table contest. The flyhalf struck the ball true and to the great relief and delight of the Birm/Solihull team and their travelling support it sailed between the posts and Sutton were left once again rueing the missed chances and opportunities they created but failed to take in the 16-18 loss.

...but all this can be put right as Sutton start the return leg of 13 fixtures, knowing of at least 6 games they should have won first time round and they know they can put this right with the second chance now available to them in the return fixtures..

The return fixtures start at league leaders Hinckley RFC this weekend, 19th Dec. KO 2.15.

Sutton other team results:

Unfortunately the scheduled away fixture for the Sutton Development squad at Worcester Wanderers was cancelled and the Sutton 3rd XV lost a close game 21-30 at home to Warrington 2nd XV in the Second Team League.

Quilter Kids First Skills Series: Crab Football

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other National League 3 Midlands results

Nuneaton
24
7
36
10
Newport (Salop)
36
6
Bromsgrove

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
8. Longton 26 61
9. Bromsgrove 26 59
10. Sandbach 26 57
11. Lichfield 26 55
12. Old Northamptonians 26 49
13. Newport (Salop) 26 38
14. Sutton Coldfield 26 19

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