Match report - 14th April 2018
By Ken Sims
Burton RFC 59pts v Sutton Coldfield 5pts
SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager
Approaching their penultimate game of an injury troubled season, which had seen Sutton slump to the bottom of the table over Christmas but then saw a fantastic revival in 2018, with Sutton returning to winning ways as the season draws to a close, winning 6 of their last 7 games, which had lifted them out of the relegation zone taking them to 9th in the table, the only loss being to Burton in a rearranged fixture back in February and now Sutton had to face high flying Burton again in the return fixture.
As they went into last weekend's game to face league leaders Burton RFC the revitalised Sutton side knew they had to be at their best to take on the formidable Burton team on their own patch but as reported below it was not to be as a combination of injuries, availability and travel problems combined to thwart the Sutton effort before kick off and Sutton slumped to a second defeat at the hands of the strong and confident Burton side.
Sutton made a good positive start to the game as they kicked off in bright sunshine and followed up to put early pressure on the home side in their own half, winning a penalty but unfortunately the attempt at goal from 40 metres drifted just wide and Sutton were denied the encouragement of an early score with just 2 minutes played. Although the spirited Sutton side continued to apply pressure the fates were not with them and Burton were able to dominate the first half leading 19-0 at the break and then in the end Sutton were well beaten 59-5 at the Peel Croft ground by the impressive league champions elect Burton on a day when little went right for the visitors.
The day started off with the news that inspirational centre Jack Duthie, who has been at the heart of the Sutton revival had been forced to pull out with an injured shoulder that had failed to recover sufficiently to risk a return for the Burton game and then word came that his proposed centre partner Tom McNamee wasn’t going to be able to get to the game in time from his London base and with Sutton's other influential centre Paul Spiby still not available Sutton had to rethink their backline.
In the reshuffle that ensued, from the originally selected side scrum half Tom Harris moved to inside centre with Ollie Green coming in at scrum half and young Colt Will Smewin came onto the bench, putting him inline with Will Poland for a 1st XV debut.
After Sutton showed promise without reward in the early exchanges the hosts soon got into their stride and by half time had opened up a 19-0 lead thanks to tries from scrum half Chaz Bunting, full back Will Simpson and Alex Nesbitt with Simpson converting two of the three tries scored.
Sutton’s cause wasn’t helped when after 20 minutes Club legend Nathan Burchell suffered a broken ankle and had to be helped from the field handing 18 year old Will Smewin an earlier than expected 1st XV debut replacing Burchell at full back.
Loose head prop Dave Smith was then forced to leave the field soon after with a calf injury being replaced by Scott Toy and it was real backs to the walls stuff for the young Sutton side with 5 Colts on the field against a quality Burton outfit.
In the second half the host’s dominance continued as they added a further 6 tries to their tally courtesy of Bunting (4), Siphiwokuhie Bakeni and James Davies with Simpson converting 4 and Bunting one.
Despite the sustained pressure they were under, great credit must go to the Sutton lads who kept going in the face of adversity and were rewarded at the death when Tom Burrows went over in the corner for a consolation score, his 18th try of the season.
Hard to take too many positives from a game where Sutton were clearly second best on the day but one glowing light was the performance of 18 year debutant Will Poland at outside centre, who was superb throughout and should be rightly proud of his contribution. Will was a junior at Sutton before moving to Leicester Tigers Academy to fine tune his game and he has just returned to Sutton to gain further experience of rugby at senior level. We are pleased to welcome him back!!
Losing 59-5 brings an end to Sutton’s magnificent 5 match winning run and means that Sutton need to beat Camp Hill at home this weekend in the final game of the season to give them a chance of avoiding the drop; results last weekend have seen Wolverhampton and Camp Hill relegated, whilst Melbourne continue to occupy the final relegation spot 4 points behind Sutton but with 2 games left to play. Above Sutton in 10th place Rugby Lions are 2 points ahead of Sutton with one game to play and Worcester are 3 points ahead of Sutton with two games to play...so it is nail-bitingly close and all is set for a dramatic weekend of rugby with the teams & supporters of all four clubs holding their breaths over the next three weekends, until all the postponed fixtures have been played..
This weekends game at the RSG, Walmley Road, when Sutton face Camp Hill in a critical final fixture for the much improved Sutton side, follows the annual past players lunch, which will celebrate good food and good company in the spirit of the game of rugby followed by what could be a season defining rugby match for the men in green. Not to be missed KO 3 pm.
Team: Dave Smith, Dean Ginn, Liam Hills, Harry Moxon, Sean Harrison(Capt), Mike Burns, Kieran Henderson, Luke Stewart, Ollie Green, Ben Morgan, Jack Wells, Tom Harris, Will Poland, Tom Burrows, Nathan Burchell. Subs(used): Will Smewin, Scott Toy, 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: