Match report 15/16 September
By Ken Sims
Sutton Coldfield 27pts v Longton RFC 17pts
SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager.
SCRFC 1st XV Match report - 15th Sept 2018
Last weekend Sutton 1st XV once again showed their tenacity and mental strength as they bounced back from a poor first half to secure a superb 27-17 victory over a strong Longton side. The visitors led 17-5 at the break after a frustrating and ill disciplined first half... but Sutton showed their growing maturity as they restored their focus and discipline to pull themselves together after the break, concentrating on the task in hand to win the second half 22-0 securing a try scoring bonus point, which moved them up to 5th place in the league with 1 bonus point win (5pts), 1 straight win (4pts) and 1 narrow defeat providing a losing bonus point (1pt) to date.
The level 6 match was an enthralling contest between two well matched teams and was definitely a game of two halves with the new stronger Sutton pack competing well in the early exchanges against their powerful opponents but simple errors and mistakes caused frustration and the referee's whistle was heard far too often in the early part of the game. To compound their problems Sutton suffered a yellow card after just 5 minutes of play and things did not improve as the home side failed to settle to their game plan with a second yellow being shown midway through the first half as Sutton voiced their frustrations to an exasperated referee, who was running out of patience... But to their great credit the young Sutton side learned their lesson at the break and in front of their appreciative supporters they produced an outstanding disciplined second half performance, which left their opponents gasping and their coaches and supporters applauding.
The game did not get off to the best of starts as the hosts were dealt a massive blow during the warm-up when influential back row forward Peter Meachin suffered a recurrence of a groin strain and was only fit enough for a place on the bench;.His place was taken by Lewis Snowden, who went on to have a fine game in the 2nd row with Jack Ward switching to blind side flanker. Unfortunately Sutton suffered a further loss when front row replacement Nathan Merritt, who made an impressive season debut off the bench the previous week at Hereford, had to pull out after painfully popping his calf muscle retrieving the ball during the warm-up. Fortunately travelling reserve Dave Roberts was able to step in to fill the vacancy on the bench and provide experienced cover for the backs..
On a day filled with great expectancy for Sutton stalwart Luke Stewart, who was winning his 100th cap at the age of 23 years and 11.5 months, the game got off to the worst possible start for the centurion as he was shown an early yellow card for robust play, which led to the huge visiting fly half Scott Rawlings crashing over for a try scrum half Sam Bedworth converted giving the Staffordshire side a 7-0 lead after just 8 minutes of play..
Matters quickly went from bad to worse as within 2 minutes the referee awarded the visitors, who were playing Midlands Premier rugby last season, a penalty try when Lewis Snowden’s superb last-ditch ‘red zone’ tackle on Rawlings, who proved a real handful all afternoon, was harshly adjudged to have been high and Sutton suddenly found themselves trailing 14-0. In the build up to the penalty try credit goes to the Longton wing Sam Evans, who broke from within his own half to take play deep into the Sutton 22 where he found support from his fellow players who drove towards the Sutton try line. The drive was well defended by Sutton but unfortunately they were penalised for their 'over' robust defence.
Things did not improve for the home side as no sooner had Stewart returned to the fray than Sutton were down a man again as young scrum half Ollie Green was binned for speaking out of turn to the referee, who was clearly unimpressed with discipline within the game. Indiscipline continued to cost the home side dear and after 34 minutes no9 Sam Bedworth kicked over a penalty goal after yet another home infringement on the edge of their 22 m line, a score that pushed the Longton lead upto 17-0.
In the play prior to the penalty Sutton have their young winger George Creed to thank for the fact that the visitors goal kicking no9 was not attempting the conversion of a try rather than a penalty, as 25 minutes into the game Longton broke down their left wing and appeared to have a clear run to the line but Sutton's intrepid young winger raced over from his position on the opposite wing to haul down the Longton player short of the line allowing the Sutton players to retrieve the ball and clear their lines.
Restored to a full complement Sutton at last started to settle into the game and they finally managed to gain some territory as they began to put phases of play together, which led to 17 year old wing George Creed, on his home debut, scoring a fine classic wingers try in the corner, with Tom Burrows providing the scoring pass after 36 mins. The conversion was missed but with halftime approaching Sutton continued to create chances with their powerful play and highly mobile prop Liam Hills threatened to reduce the deficit further when he made a telling break down the Sutton left only to be denied as his long looping pass to the supporting ex-Worcester Warriors Academy youngster Creed, was intercepted preventing the winger gaining his second try of the day, so at the break Sutton trailed 5-17.
With the calm tones of Head Coach Joe Gavin lingering in their ears the Sutton side began the 2nd half full of belief that the game was very much still there for the winning and within 4 minutes of the restart fly half Ben Morgan made it 8-17 with a well-struck penalty goal from midfield 35 metres out.
The home side continued to put positive phases of play together and with the scrum and lineout holding out against a much bigger pack the momentum was increasingly with the home side and the chances started to open up. Typically dynamic no8 Stewart picked up and went from the base of a scrum on the halfway line up the blindside but with support runners screaming on his inside the no8 chose to back himself on the outside only to be forced into touch by the covering full back, no try but the positive play put Sutton on the front foot deep in Longton territory.
Reward eventually came after 56 minutes when from a driving maul, which followed a penalty kicked into right corner for a lineout on the Longton 5 metre line was cleanly won by Sutton to set up the powerful drive for the try line, allowing tight head Liam Hills to force his way over in the right hand corner. Although the conversion was unsuccessful Sutton were clearly in the ascendancy and now only trailed 13-17 with 24 minutes to play and the visitors visibly tiring.
Captain Sean Harrison, having put in his usual honest shift, was forced from the field with 20 minutes to go to be replaced at loose head by Steve Crane and shortly afterwards Dave Roberts came on in midfield for the injured Jack Duthie.
Roared on by the vociferous home support Sutton refused to be denied and after 66 minutes they eventually took the lead following a superb break from his own 22 by full back Joel James, which took play deep into opposition territory where the bouncing ball was tidied up skilfully by experienced replacement Roberts allowing the impressive Jack Ward to gather and, showing his great strength and determination, score a fine try towards the left hand corner, his 3rd try of the season. Morgan’s excellent conversion from far out to the left of the posts put Sutton in front 20-17 as the pulsating game entered the last quarter.
The visitors were not going to go down without a fight and having gained some worthwhile possession and territory it took a huge defensive effort from the boys in green to keep them out with ‘battering ram’ Rawlings the focal point of their desperate attacks on the Sutton line.
The hosts, having finally managed to clear their lines, forced a scrum on the visitors 10 metre line from which no8 Stewart again picked up from the base of the scrum but this time the play was further infield and the no8 linked with his scrumhalf Ollie Green who made ground before releasing the lethal Tom Burrows to send the speedy winger down the right touchline. To complete another classic try the gifted Sutton wing skilfully cut inside the despairing wide defender before showing a clean pair of heels to touch down for the bonus point try and his own 2nd score of the campaign; Morgan added the extras and with 74 minutes on the clock the lead had been pushed out to 27-17 a scoreline that remained intact until the final whistle of a quite remarkable game.
The young Sutton side are to be congratulated on correcting the errors of a frustrating first half and producing a second half performance straight out of the top drawer as they prepare for the journey South this weekend when they travel to face league newcomers Malvern RFC, with Sutton set on maintaining their impressive winning ways. KO 3pm
Team: Sean Harrison(Capt), Dean Ginn, Liam Hills, Josh Bailey, Lewis Snowden, Jack Ward, Rhoss Price, Luke Stewart, Ollie Green, Ben Morgan, George Creed, Jack Duthie, Paul Spiby, Tom Burrows, Joel James. Subs(used): Steve Crane, Dave Roberts, Peter Meachin.
SCRFC Development Side match report - 15th Sept 2018.
Camp Hill 15pts v Sutton Coldfield 22pts
Midlands Reserve Team League.
Due to late withdrawals on Friday night and Saturday morning Sutton's second string, under the leadership of manager Simon Davies and coaches Maria Crowfoot and Dean Harper, travelled to Shirley to face a strong Camp Hill side with a bare 15 players but in spite of the late disruptions the young Sutton side responded to the challenge and they beat Camp Hill 2nd XV by 22 - 15 in a highly entertaining contest; as described below by team manager Simon Davies.
Sutton 2XV showed much character to defeat Camp Hill away from home. Camp Hill scored early in the first half which was cancelled out with a try by Chris Hendley 5 all. Camp Hill scored a further two tries which were quickly matched by tries from James Wells and Harry Moxon, with the score 15 all at the break. Sutton had the better of the second half with Hendley becoming increasingly influential. The match seemed to be petering out with a draw seeming a likely outcome but in a dramatic finale, with 5 minutes to play the much improved Lamar McIntosh crashed over from close range to score the winner converted by TJ Allwood.
Huge credit must be given to the 15 lads who travelled and showed great resilience to earn a memorable victory.
SCRFC Development Side Team manager