1st XV + 3rd XV Match report Sat 27th Oct 2018
By Ken Sims
Stoke on Trent RFC 34pts v Sutton Coldfield 22pts -
Birmingham Exiles 2nd XV 0pts v Sutton Coldfield 3rd XV 74pts.
Picture - key individual players in the 1st XV game.
SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager
Stoke on Trent RFC 34pts v Sutton Coldfield 22pt
At the start of play last Saturday Sutton 1st XV sat comfortably in 5th place in the league, whilst their opponents Stoke RFC were 9th in the league of 14 teams having suffered last minute agonising defeats in their last two games... but to illustrate the strength of competition in the current Midlands One West league, the form book was overturned when Sutton failed to recapture their recent excellent form and to the delight of the enthusiastic home supporters the Stoke side took full advantage of the chances the out of sorts Sutton side offered to secure a deserved 34-22 victory.
At the close of play disappointingly Sutton had dropped from 5th to 6th in the league but in spite of securing a much needed bonus point win Stoke still remained in 9th place, however they had deservedly ended the misfortunes they had experienced in recent games when they had twice surrendered a significant lead to lose in the final phase of each game, very much against the run of play.
As for Sutton, they now have to pull themselves together and return to the sharp form and powerful performances that saw them gain 25 league points, including 5 wins and 5 bonus points from the first 7 games of the new league season.
In their 8th league game of the season, a lively Sutton side kicked off in dry but very cold conditions on a near perfect pitch and they followed the ball deep into the Stoke half to apply all the early pressure in the home 22 but whilst threatening the try line the visitors failed to make the early break through and successive penalties enabled Stoke to clear the ball down their left touchline to turn the tables, putting Sutton under pressure in their own half.
However, after the encouraging opening period the game swung Stokes way and Sutton fell behind, totally against the run of play, when after 16 minutes another penalty awarded against Sutton was kicked to the left corner and from the ensuing attacking lineout open side wing forward Callum Robb scored from close range following a catch and drive. The conversion was missed but the lead was extended to 12-0 on 20 minutes when centre Jamie Loska crossed and Josh Partridge converted.
Sutton responded well to the growing deficit and came back into the game after 34 minutes when inspirational veteran centre Paul Spiby, showed his skills and vision as he went over in the corner following a break by captain Sean Harrison and the skipper was at it again on the stroke of half time with a delicious offload that allowed young centre Jacob Jones to go under the posts for his 2nd try of the season. With fly half Ben Morgan adding the conversion the sides went in at the break level at 12pts each but at this point in the game the momentum was certainly back with the visitors.
Whilst Sutton were proving to be very strong at the scrum, by contrast, at crucial moments their lineout was again proving to be unreliable and all too often valuable attacking opportunities were lost, however Sutton continued to press forward creating good scoring opportunities but too many penalties against them was proving to be a continuing problem. The hosts early second half penalty goal in the 2nd minute by fullback Partridge was cancelled out in similar fashion by Sutton's fly half Ben Morgan after 56 minutes and hopes were high that at 15 all with 24 minutes left to play Sutton could go on to win the game.
Unfortunately it was not to be, as Sutton seemed to switch off just as Stoke lifted their game scoring three tries in seven minutes through centre Will Sant (65), replacement Alex Finlow (68) and full back Josh Partridge (72) who also converted the last two for a decisive lead of 34-15.
To their credit Sutton never gave up the fight and full back Zak Tyler scored a superb consolation try in the dying moments of the game, his 3rd in successive games; following a clearance kick by Stoke which was fielded wide out in the Sutton half by left wing Jack Wells, who passed in field to full back Zak Tyler, the enterprising full back started a high speed counter attack moving to the right taking play over the halfway line before setting up a break by right wing Tom Burrows, who cut back in field at pace taking play into the Stoke 22 where the play appeared to have been brought to a halt but at the breakdown Sutton quickly recycled the ball, which was taken on by centre Jacob Jones. Short of the try line the centre passed neatly to the supporting full back Zak Tyler, who had followed the play after his initial break and here he was able to take the ball over the try line and race round towards the posts to make it easier for fly half Morgan to add the conversion leaving the final score at 34-22 to Stoke, who over the piece played some good rugby and were fully deserving of their bonus point win.
Sutton will now look to put things right when they entertain Stourbridge Lions on Friday evening in their floodlit game, kick off 7.30pm.
All supporters and visitors to the RSG, Walmley Road Friday evening will receive a warm welcome on the touchline and in the bar afterwards, for what will be a great evening of floodlit rugby and social hospitality, to be enjoyed by all.
Team: Sean Harrison(Capt), Dean Ginn, Chris Hanley, Josh Bailey, Jack Ward, Peter Meachin, Anton Taylor, Sam Harris, Ollie Green, Ben Morgan, Jack Wells, Jacob Jones, Paul Spiby, Tom Burrows, Zak Tyler. Reps(used): Kieran Henderson, Jonah Falconer, Dave Roberts.
Birmingham Exiles 2nd XV 0pts v Sutton Coldfield 3rd XV 74pts.
Friendly Pool Fixture
A mixed Sutton 3rd XV travelled to Birmingham Exiles to face their 2nd XV in a friendly pool fixture but the Sutton 3rd side proved much to too strong for the host club's brave 2nd XV as the visitors scored 12 tries without reply in a 74-0 victory.
The game marked the welcome return to Sutton colours of centre Tom McNamee, who has now moved to London and is only an infrequent visitor to Sutton these days and alongside Tom was Tom Harris, who was a regular first team player last season but has not been available this season after joining the Police Service... and it is good to note that both Tom's were on the scoreboard, with Tom Harris scoring a try and Tom McNamee contributing a conversion.
The Sutton try spree was led by fly half Alex Roberts, who scored 4 tries, along with T J Allwood, who scored 3 and young George Creed, who added a brace with Tom Harris, Mike Ivanowicz and Andy Brown, adding a try each, whilst Alex Roberts kicked 4 conversions, with Tom McNamee 1 in an emphatic victory, with due respect to their hosts for providing worthy opposition.