Match report - 14th Oct 2017
Sutton Coldfield 30 pts v Moseley Oak 30 pts
SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager
Match day photograph; Luke Stewart (try 3)
Inspired by their convincing victory in the Semi-final of the Warwickshire Cup the previous weekend, Sutton 1st XV returned to league action last weekend and produced another impressive team performance against a highly rated Moseley Oak side, only to be denied victory when a last minute conversion attempt just drifted wide of the posts and Sutton had to settle for an honourable draw at 30 points apiece.
In a highly entertaining contest both sides scored 4 tries to earn a try scoring bonus point each plus 2 points for a draw. Unfortunately the 3 points gained were not enough to lift Sutton off the bottom of the table but their total of 7 points keeps them in close contact with the other teams in the bottom half of the table.
Sutton are just 1 point below 13th place (8 pts) and 2 points below 12th place (9 pts) with 10th & 11th place on 10 pts, so Sutton have everything to play for and their current form over the last two games bodes well for the future with the pack performing well and the backs showing sharpness with pace and power and most important the Sutton side is starting to play like a winning team.
In a closely fought contest Sutton battled well and in a testing first half the points came at a steady rate testing the new scoreboard at the RSG and the lead changed hands as the events unfolded. The visitors scored first on 6 minutes when fly half Ollie Thomas landed a penalty as Sutton were caught offside in front of the posts but Sutton countered on 8 minutes and Ben Morgan landed a corresponding penalty when Moseley were penalised for not rolling away on their 22, so 3 all on 8 minutes. Moseley then took the lead on 15 minutes when their combative hooker James Weaver scrambled over the line following a lineout in the Sutton 22 and successive drives by the Moseley pack took them up to the try line. The conversion was missed and the score remained at 8-3 in Moseley's favour but Sutton took no time in responding, as straight from the restart a fumble by the Moseley fly half was pounced on by Sutton centre, Mike Burns, who raced up to gather the ball at speed and the wily centre skilfully evaded the would be tacklers as he raced 40 metres to score an excellent opening try for the home side. The superb solo effort confirms the centres emergence as a key player in the Sutton backline having shown his attacking skills and awareness plus pace and strength, combined with great tackling in defence during his 6 appearances for the 1st XV this season.
Ben Morgan added the conversion to take Sutton into a 10-8 lead just 16 minutes into the game, then midway through the first half Sutton's mercurial fullback Miles Gregory gathered the ball on the halfway line in mid field and set off on a devastating run to score Sutton's second try of the game and his fourth try of the season, in the right hand corner to extend the Sutton lead to 15-8 but 10 minutes later Moseley struck back when a long clearance by Sutton was gathered by the Moseley fullback deep in his own half and he immediately set up a dangerous counter attack taking play back into the Sutton 22. As Sutton rushed in to close down the attack in mid-field Moseley swung the ball out to their left wing and Tom Peake raced in on the overlap to score in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed but with 10 minutes to play to the break the Sutton lead had been reduced to just 2 points at 15-13.
....But with just seconds left on the clock at the end of a pulsating first half, Sutton were on the attack with a surging run and chip ahead by left wing Tom Burrows taking play up to halfway, when Sutton were awarded a penalty on the halfway line as their player was taken out in the air as he went to gather the chip ahead. With no time left for a kick to touch and a lineout, fly half Ben Morgan opted to take on the challenge and go for goal. The young fly half hit the ball perfectly and it sailed between the posts to give Sutton a 5 point cushion at the break as they went in leading 18-13.
Sutton were boosted by the extra 3 points and the 5 point lead at the end of the first half but unfortunately the second half did not start well for the Sutton side and the visiting pack stepped up their game driving Sutton on to the back foot, winning a 5 metre scrum on the Sutton left wing. Increased pressure by the Moseley pack as they drove for the line then forced Sutton into conceding a penalty try and a guaranteed 7 points, allowing the visitors to retake the lead at 20-18 with 10 minutes of the second half played.
Although very much in contention, Sutton's play faltered during the next 20 minute period of the game and they appeared to be drawing defeat from the jaws of victory, with poor kicking options and slight fumbles allowing the opposition back into the game. However, during this unsettling phase of the game with Moseley appearing to get the upper hand, in Sutton's favour their defence held firm with brave tackles coming in from all over the park to deny their formidable opponents.
However, with just 10 minutes left to play it appeared that Sutton had handed the game back to Moseley when a misplaced Sutton clearance fell to Tom Peake on the left wing, who ran the ball back to score to the left of the posts and Ollie Thomas added salt to the wound by kicking the conversion to give the visitors a 27-18 lead, which not only denied Sutton the win but also denied them a losing bonus point.
With time running out quickly, the true Sutton spirit and sparkle came to the fore setting up a dramatic climax to an excellent game of rugby as first, another outstanding break by centre Mike Burns took play deep into the Moseley half and a long pass, well taken by left wing Tom Burrows allowed the powerful winger to take the ball on deep into the opposition 22 before being hauled down just short of the line. Sutton were up quick to the breakdown and the ball was smuggled in field for flanker Luke Stewart to carry the ball over the try line for an excellent try to the left of the posts.
Ben Morgan added the conversion to close 25-27 with 5 minutes left to play but overeager Sutton were penalised immediately following the restart and from 45 metres Ollie Thomas added the 3 points to put Sutton back to a 5 point deficit with 2 minutes left to play. Undeterred Sutton took the restart and with flanker Luke Stewart again to the fore, chased the ball into Moseley territory and wrestled the ball free. They then had to attack from deep, which they did surging up the right wing and creating space for right wing Zac Tyler to weave his way over for a dramatic last minute try to level the scores at 30-30.
Unfortunately, the conversion attempt against the wind was blown off course drifting just outside the far post to deny Sutton the win their spirited play deserved but in the end a draw was a fair result for both sides after an excellent game of rugby enjoyed by all those present to witness the spectacle on a warm sunlit afternoon in mid Oct at the excellent Roger Smoldon Memorial Ground.
Amongst many fine performances it was good to welcome the return of hooker Dean Ginn, returning to 1st XV duties for his second game following recovery from injury, which had kept him out over recent weeks. Dean steps in for young Conor Thornycroft, who has played well in the recent games and can look forward a return to 1st XV rugby as the season progresses. The 1st XV also owe a debt of thanks to 2nd row Dean Harper, who is trying to retire from playing to concentrate on coaching but the erstwhile and loyal clubman postponed his retirement again last weekend to respond to the SOS call when selected 2nd row Jamie Willetts slipped a disc in a non rugby related incident. We wish Jamie a speedy and pain free recovery and thanks again to Dean for stepping in at short notice.
Mention should also be made of the brave appearances and try scoring performances of fullback Miles Gregory, who was making his last appearance of the season as he has been waiting for surgery on both his wrists for some time and he has been playing with both wrists carefully bandaged by head physio Lance White before each game. Miles goes in for surgery on Tuesday 17th Oct and we wish him well with a quick and pain free recovery and we look forward to welcoming him back fully fit next season with thanks for his four tries in this campaign and all he has done for the Sutton cause in this and previous seasons.
This weekend Sutton 1st XV travel to Rugby Lions, who currently sit 3rd in the league table and will be looking to extract revenge on Sutton for their defeat in the semi-final of the Warwickshire Cup two weekends ago. Should be a tasty game to check out Sutton's new found belief and teamwork and whether they can keep it at a high level for the full eighty minutes.
A great game in prospect for the travelling supporters. KO 3 pm.
Other game results:
Unfortunately an understrength Sutton 2nd XV travelled to nearby Lichfield and suffered a heavy defeat against strong opposition.
However the Sutton Vets continued their all conquering feets with a convincing win over Bromsgrove Vets, making the once all powerful Bromsgrove side look human again in another entertaining contest at the RSG, Walmley Road.
.... and on Sunday Sutton Women continued their winning run with an impressive victory over Wolverhampton Women.