Match report - 13th Jan 2018
Lutterworth RFC 29 pts v Sutton Coldfield 27 pts
Picture: the 3 Colts, Lamaar Lawrence, Kieran Henderson and Jack Wells, who all started today and did themselves and the Club proud
SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager
The Sutton 1st XV went down 29-27 at Lutterworth last weekend in an amazing game that swung one way then the other before agonisingly Sutton were denied at the death and had to be content with a losing bonus point, against a side who beat them 50-23 in the reverse fixture at Sutton earlier in the season - so progress of sorts.
Once again due to continuing injuries Sutton travelled to Lutterworth with another new look side, which included ex first team centre Paul Spiby, who was tempted out of retirement to help the Sutton cause and he was joined in the backline by 'old boy' Tom McNamee, who has made a welcome return to Sutton having transferred to Leicester Lions at the start of this current season to sample life at National 2 but happily Tom has returned to Sutton on loan until the end of this season. In the forwards Club Captain Sean Harrison made a welcome return to the front row after suffering an injury in only the third game of the season, which kept him out for the next 13 games, returning to a pack, which included newly signed Sutton youth players, 2nd row Lamaar Lawrence and 17 year old flanker Kieran Henderson, both recently transferred from the Sutton youth teams into the senior side and both performed magnificently all-be-it in a losing cause, showing much promise for the future, with Kieran celebrating a debut try.
In Sutton's first ever league game at this excellent Leicestershire facility the home side took the early initiative with powerful play and within 6 minutes Sutton found themselves 12-0 down, with open side flanker Joe Sullivan scoring the opening try from close to the scrum on 2 minutes, converted by fly half Reece Jones and then left wing Charlie Neale scored the second try as he chased a chip ahead, which bounced over the Sutton line and evaded the Sutton defender allowing the flying winger to touchdown.
Stunned by the early scores, which had caught Sutton cold before the new look side could settle, never the less the visitors showed great resilience as they set about repairing the damage and they produced an incredible turnaround in the 2nd quarter playing some of their best rugby of the season so far. Under pressure in the scrums against one of the biggest packs in the league Sutton continued to hit back, with no8 Luke Stewart consistently making telling breaks from the Sutton put-in to a retreating scrum to put Sutton on the front foot and keeping them in the game. 10 minutes in left wing Jack Wells made a dramatic dash down the left touch line but was bundled into touch just short of the try line and the home side had a defensive lineout 5 m out. They won the ball but under forward pressure from the Sutton pack they failed to clear their lines and as the play drifted in field Sutton applied sustained pressure and 17 year old debutant Kieron Henderson, who was outstanding throughout, stole the ball to score a try from close range to open the Sutton account. Captain Ben Morgan added the conversion to close to 12-7 and 15 minutes into the game the captain stepped up again to land a penalty on the Lutterworth 22 bringing Sutton back to within 2 points at 12-10.
With Sutton in the ascendency they continued to press and midway through the first half Lutterworth received a yellow card on their 10m line and Ben Morgan landed the 40 m penalty kick to take Sutton into a deserved 12-13 lead. Unfortunately Sutton also suffered a yellow card shortly after to even things up but this was definitely Sutton's best period of the game, when a sweeping attack took play from left to right up to the Lutterworth try line and from close range club captain Sean ‘Lazarus’ Harrison marked his return from long term injury by scoring an incredible try and then to cap it all, rolling back the years, Paul Spiby after a 1st XV absence of 9 years finished a fine passage of play to make it 36 tries for the Club in a long and distinguished career. With Ben Morgan converting all 3 tries and also slotting the 2 penalty goals Sutton were showing the performance their coaches could only dream of going in at the break leading 27-12.
Unfortunately the dream dispersed as Lutterworth changed tactics and reverted to power play through out a frenetic second half, which was dictated by the Lutterworth pack. As a result, 17 unanswered points by the hosts were to follow, with a 2nd try for Sullivan on 57 minutes and two pushover scrum tries touched down by their huge No 8 Josh Connor on 60 minutes and 68 minutes respectively; with Jones converting one of the tries Lutterworth led 29-27 going into the closing stages.
Despite being under pressure Sutton managed to stay in the game, mainly thanks to the lineout, which functioned extremely well and the heroic efforts of Luke Stewart at the base of our retreating scrum, and even though Sutton were playing with their backs to the wall they defended magnificently and could have nicked it at the death with a long range penalty from Ben Morgan which hit the post to drop on the wrong side and then in virtually the last play of the game Tom McNammee, in his first game back after his spell with Leicester Lions, was forced into touch at the corner flag as he tried to force his way over.
Credit to Lutterworth for their 2nd half comeback and for being great hosts and all at Sutton wish them well for the rest of the season.
Understandably, disappointed at not holding out for the victory there are many positives to take from the game and the way in which this exciting new look side played especially in the second quarter. As a first outing by a new side this was quite a performance. If the new squad can remain injury free and stay together for the forthcoming games, with 11 games to be played to the end of the season, anything is possible as Sutton prepare to face Melbourne RFC at home next Saturday. KO 2.15pm.
Other team results:
Sutton 2nd XV travelled across town to face their old and familiar rivals at Vesyan's RFC and honours were even at 24-24 after an entertaining contest, with Sutton scoring 4 tries by Steve Marshall, Harry Moxon and Alex Roberts plus a try for the redoubtable George Ord, who was making his debut after a long period of injury but unfortunately he sustained a further injury later in the game and will now have another period on the side lines depriving the 1st XV his valued services yet again. To complete the score-sheet Alex Roberts slotted 2 conversions.
Sutton Women beat Aston Old Ed's Women by 7-3 in a close fought contest to continue their highly successful season - all covered in a separate match report.