Match Report - Sat 3rd Feb 2016
Sutton Coldfield 43 pts v Rugby Lions 17 pts
Picture - Team: Sean Harrison(Capt), Dean Ginn, Dave Smith, Harry Moxon, Lamaar Lawrence, Mike Burns, Peter Meachin, Tom Foulsham, Ollie Green, Ben Morgan, Chris Duckworth, Tom Harris, Paul Spiby, Tom Burrows, Nathan Burchell. Subs(used): Jonah Falconer, Conor Thorneycroft, Jack Wells.
SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager
Last weekend the Sutton 1st XV showed their 'old sparkle' as they returned to winning ways at the RSG with a brilliant 43-17 bonus point win, outscoring Rugby Lions by 6 tries to 3 in a highly entertaining contest, showing the true potential this new look side holds.
On a dark, dismal day with steady drizzle throughout the game, the Sutton boys lit up the skies with some scintillating rugby in a six try feast that was only matched by their determination to succeed in a display that belied their lowly league position.
With both sides measuring each other up in the early exchanges it took until the 15th minute for the first score, when Sutton fly half Ben Morgan knocked over a penalty goal from the edge of the Lions 22 where Rugby Lions were penalised for foul play at the breakdown, to give Sutton a deserved 3-0 lead, on what was to become a very productive afternoon for the playmaker.
The visitor’s response however was immediate with a good move down the right flank creating the opportunity for centre Stu Lee to touch down and give Lions a 5-3 lead on their first ever visit to Walmley Road.
However, this was as good as it got for the visitors in the first half as Sutton turned on the style in an fine display of running rugby.
Inspired by mercurial full back Nathan Burchell, in the 20 minutes leading up to the break Sutton really stepped up the pace scoring four tries in the process through Tom Burrows (2), Peter Meachin and young Jonah Falconer, who scored his first try for the Club with virtually his first touch after coming on as front row replacement on the stroke of half time.
The first try of the game by left wing Tom Burrows after 20 minutes play was a fine solo effort as he received the ball on the Lions 10 metre line with a little space to work in and he raced down his wing before chipping the ball over the approaching defenders and skilfully re-gathering to cross the try line to the left of the posts, in spite of the close attention of the Lion's defenders. His second try came 2 minutes later, when straight from the kick off fullback Nathan Burchell made a scintillating break from his own half taking play deep into Lion's territory before feeding centre Paul Spiby, who has inspired the young Sutton side since he stepped out of retirement back into 1st XV duties.
The experienced centre quickly transferred the ball to winger Burrows inside the Lion's 22 and the powerful runner powered over to complete his rapid brace of tries; then on 27 minutes with Sutton very much in the ascendancy experienced flanker Peter Meachin, a mainstay of the improving Sutton pack, picked up an interception on the Lion's 10 metre line and he had the pace and determination to race 40 metres to score a spectacular try under the posts, having out paced the desperate Lion's defenders, then on the stroke of halftime young Jonah Falconer, showed his true grit potential with a fine try from close range.
Burrows’ brace sees him join Chris Duckworth at the top of the Sutton try scoring chart with 8 apiece. Morgan expertly converted all 4 tries to take the score at the break to 31-5 to Sutton with the valued try scoring bonus point already secured.
Coach Joe Gavin’s half time message was; no relaxing and not to take their foot off the gas at the start of a critical 40 minutes for the Sutton side as they have been in this position before and Sutton didn’t want another Lutterworth capitulation where a convincing 27-12 lead at the interval led to a disappointing 27-29 defeat. However, there were no worries this time as, to a man the Sutton team stood up to be counted. Defence wins matches as much as tries and Sutton stood strong against the forward dominated onslaught launched by their increasingly desperate opponents. On the day the Sutton defence, matched by their attacking flair was the deciding factor.
As expected, the Lions onslaught came straight from the start of the 2nd half but despite dominating territory and possession in the 3rd quarter all the visitors had to show for their efforts was a solitary try by 2nd row John Hemsley, which came after 55 minutes to reduce the deficit to 31-10, with the conversion being missed.
Sutton were well-directed at half back by young Ollie Green and Morgan whose educated left boot continually probed the corners. Once in possession the Sutton’threat was ever present as was the promise shown by a pair of 18 year Colts who made up possibly the youngest lock partnership in the history of the Club; Harry Moxon and Lamaar Lawrence were simply outstanding throughout which bodes well for the future and it was fitting that it was a superb break by Moxon after 63 minutes down the left touchline that eventually led to evergreen centre Paul Spiby going over for his 2nd try in only his 3rd outing of an amazing comeback season.
7 minutes later an astute chip and chase by the diminutive Morgan saw him touch down for his first try of the campaign; converting his own try brought his personal tally for the day to 18 points and stretched the lead to 43-10.
Credit to the visitors who kept going and battled bravely to the end and were rewarded with the last score of the contest when Lee went over for his 2nd try of the afternoon with scrum half Joe Higgins adding the extras to leave the final score 43-17 to a jubilant home side, who recorded their first win since defeating Wolverhampton on 25th November.
Victory today is a fitting reward for head coach Joe Gavin and his assistants, Dean Harper, Sandy O’Hare and Dan Lockley who have kept the ship afloat through some turbulent seas. The return to the starting XV today of club captain Sean Harrison at loose head and Peter Meachin in the back row proved crucial to a pack who have struggled in recent times; Meachin, who had missed the last 4 games through injury, formed a very effective new combination with Mike Burns and Tom Foulsham, both of whom were outstanding. The contributions of Dean Ginn and Dave Smith at the coalface should also not be underestimated nor should the guile of Tom Harris in his midfield partnership with try scorer Spiby. The inclusion of Burchell will strike fear into any defence in the league and that attacking threat becomes even more menacing when wingers Duckworth and Burrows are factored in.
Many thanks to all the supporters who turned out in dreary conditions to cheer the boys on and we look forward to seeing you all again next week when we entertain title contenders Burton, kick off is at 2.15pm.
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