Match report - 7th April 2018
By Ken Sims
Sutton Coldfield 36pts v Bromsgrove RFC 33pts
SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager
Sutton's impressive late season surge towards survival in the M1W league took another dramatic twist last weekend, when with just three games to play to the end of the season and needing points for survival, Sutton were faced with playing old friends and rivals Bromsgrove, who at the start of the day were flying high sitting third in the table with Sutton languishing in 12th place.
In spite of their recent excellent run of 5 wins out of the last 6 games, which had lifted them off the bottom of the table Sutton still found themselves in the relegation zone, all-be-it just one league point from safety so at the start of play the form book had the visitors down as clear favourites and although Sutton started strongly in the first period of play they were denied two clear cut try scoring chances to take an early lead. The first was a dropped pass with a clear path to the try line and the second was called back for a dubious forward pass as the player crossed the try line. So no opening score for Sutton but then against the run of play Bromsgrove scored two well worked tries both converted to leave Sutton trailing 14-0 midway through the first half...but in the next 10 minutes Sutton's troubles grew even greater when they were handed a straight red card for retaliating in a fracas involving players from both sides.
At this point all seemed lost but then something magical happened!!
Reduced to 14 men for the remaining 52 minutes or so of the must win game and trailing 14-0 Sutton stepped up a gear and hit top form to run in two tries before the break to close to 14-10 at the interval and then in the first 13 minutes of the second half Sutton ran in three more tries to lead 29-14 before the stunned Bromsgrove side scored a try to close to 29-21 but 14 man Sutton surged ahead again to lead 36-21 midway through the second half. At this point the visitors tried to restore some order to their game and with 15 minutes to play they fought back to 36-26 with a try and then they tested the Sutton defence and resolve for the remainder of the game gaining a penalty try in injury time to close to 36-33, when Sutton succumbed at a scrum for the first time in the game and were penalised at a 5 metre scrum. The 36-33 score line set up a dramatic finish to an excellent contest, which was credit to both sides.
Following the final restart the Sutton side held their nerve and showed great discipline to contain the resurgent South Birmingham side in their own half for the final few minutes and forcing an error to end the game and record a famous result leading to great celebrations in the Sutton camp, including the players, coaching staff, officials and not least the loyal fans and supporters, who have helped Sutton through a difficult season and given them a fighting chance of survival in this league.
The crucial win has lifted Sutton out of the relegation zone for the first time in many months and they now sit 9th in the table but with league positions 12, 13 and 14 being relegated, Sutton have two games left to ensure they stay above the relegation zone and do not slip back...on their current form who would bet against the resurgent Sutton side.
In summary; 14-0 down and reduced to 14 men from the 28th minute Sutton, against all the odds, produced arguably their finest performance for many a season to secure a 36-33 try bonus point victory over a high flying Bromsgrove side last weekend in front of large and appreciative Walmley Road crowd.
To detail the match more accurately; Bromsgrove kicked off in perfect conditions on a warm afternoon with a remarkably firm RSG pitch underfoot and Sutton, still fighting for their lives to avoid the drop, started strongly chasing their 5th consecutive win but in spite of their early pressure and resource after the early exchanges Sutton had nothing to show for their efforts as two try scoring opportunities were missed and after dominating territory and possession it came as quite a shock and totally against the run of play when Sutton found themselves 14-0 down 20 minutes into the game, after both visiting wingers first Josh Holt on the left then Matt Shephard on the right crossed for well executed tries out wide on their respective wings, that were expertly converted by scrum half Adam Whiteman.
Worse was to follow for the home side when 18 year old Colt Lamaar Lawrence was shown a straight red card for retaliation with no action taken against the instigator.
If anything, this hardened Sutton’s resolve even more as they went about their business with a real zeal and desire but after Nathan Burchell was denied a certain try earlier in the game when a Luke Stewart pass was harshly adjudged to have gone forward it seemed the rugby gods weren’t to be with Sutton in this game.
However, this essentially very young Sutton team with 4 starting Colts, refused to be denied and two tries in the space of 5 minutes before half time, the first by leading try scorer right wing Tom Burrows, who twisted and turned his way over the line to the right of the posts and then left wing Colt Jack Wells, who scored his 3rd try of the season after an excellent cross field passing movement put the young winger in in the left corner, restored belief that even trailing 14-10 at the break and a man down here was a game that was there for the taking by simply producing more of the same in the 2nd half.
And so it was to prove as within 3 minutes of the restart captain Sean Harrison fed the ever-dangerous Tom McNamee who ran a great line and weaved his way in under the posts; Ben Morgan’s conversion saw Sutton take the lead for the first time at 17-14.
5 minutes later and the outstanding Harrison was at it again, this time putting impressive scrum half Tom Harris in for his 5th try of the season and in doing so securing the 4th try bonus point, Morgan again added the extras to extend the lead to 24-14.
Sutton were now totally in control and playing some exceptional rugby against a good Bromsgrove side who simply had no answer to the pace the home side were playing at and this was emphasised when after 54 minutes the electric Tom Burrows raced in for his 2nd try of the day and his 17th of his outstanding debut season at this level.
Three tries in an 11 minute period had pushed the lead out to 29-14 but just when some might have thought the game was in the bag, back came the visitors when Sutton failed to exit properly from their 22 following the restart and left wing Holt was able to claim the ball and run in his 2nd try, which Whiteman again converted from the touchline to trim the lead to 29-21.
This brilliant game continued to hold everyone’s attention and 17 year old Denstone College pupil Kieran Henderson had the home support jumping for joy when the flanker’s good footwork allowed him to go over from close range for his 3rd try of his breakthrough season, Morgan tapped over the conversion to push the lead out to 36-21 with 20 minutes remaining.
For the final quarter of the game the visitors were able to gain some much needed territory and possession and they were rewarded for their efforts when first Cam Simpson went over in the corner after 69 minutes and then in the 5th minute of stoppage time when the referee awarded a penalty try after a scrum offence on the Sutton line.
With the home side’s lead cut to 36-33 there was still time for the restart but after a number of phases in their own half Bromsgrove, much to the immense relief of the home faithful, eventually knocked on and the game was over with Sutton recording a famous victory at the end of a thrilling contest.
Many thanks to Bromsgrove for a great game and much credit to them for their late fightback. Overall this was a much deserved success for Sutton who, to a man, played like their lives depended on it and were duly rewarded with the 5 point win, which after the day’s other results takes them up the the heady heights of 9th in the league with 2 games to play; away at Burton this week before finishing off the season at home the following week 21st April, against Camp Hill. Nothing is certain yet but 6 wins from the last 7 games means that Sutton's destiny is now in their own hands with one more win perhaps being enough to keep them in this league.
There were many heroes in green today but it would be remiss not to herald the contribution of the front row of Sean Harrison, Dean Ginn and Liam Hills, who held their own against the powerful Bromsgrove pack, both in the tight and in open play and, in a depleted pack, Colts Harry Moxon and Kieran Henderson both came of age with remarkable performances.
Sutton's next game is on Saturday 14th April when the green army travel to champions elect Burton looking to spoil their title winning celebration party, kick off is at 3pm, dare the fans dream of another giant toppling display and 6 wins out 6…??
Team: Sean Harrison(Capt), Dean Ginn, Liam Hills, Harry Moxon, Lamar Lawrence, Mike Burns, Kieran Henderson, Luke Stewart, Tom Harris, Ben Morgan, Jack Wells, Jack Duthie, Tom McNamee, Tom Burrows, Nathan Burchell. Subs(used): Jonah Falconer, Ollie Green, Rhoss Price.
The table published by Pichero on our website. which we have no control of, is wrong. To see an accurate league table click on link: