1st XV Match report - 2nd Nov 2018
By Ken Sims
Sutton Coldfield 36pts v Stourbridge Lions 17pts
Team: Sean Harrison(Capt), Dean Ginn, Chris Hanley, Josh Bailey, Jack Ward, Sam Harris, Peter Meachin, Luke Stewart, Tom Harris, Ben Morgan, Jack Wells, Dave Roberts, Jacob Jones, Chris Duckworth, Zak Tyler. Reps(used): Liam Hills, Steve Crane, Ollie Green.
SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager
Sutton Coldfield 36pts v Stourbridge Lions 17pts
After their disappointing performance the previous weekend, when they lost away to Stoke, last Friday evening under the floodlights in front of a large crowd, Sutton 1st XV bounced back to top form as the players from 1 to 18 rose to the occasion to produce a sublime performance, which saw them run in 6 tries to defeat a strong Stourbridge Lions side by 36-17, securing an all important bonus point to move Sutton back up to 5th in the table, making for a great evening on and off the field as the fans celebrated an excellent evening of great rugby.
The bonus point win means after their first 8 games of the season Sutton sit 5th in a league table of 14 teams, with 5 wins and 5 bonus points to their credit giving them a total of 30 league points, in total contrast to their league position 12 months ago when Sutton were beset by injuries game after game and struggled for consistency but in a happy contrast this season Sutton have established a formidable pack, especially the front five, which has given the team a solid platform from which to launch their devastating runners and secure some commendable victories.
The current front five consists of skipper Sean Harrison, hooker Dean Ginn and prop Chris Hanley, with able deputies in the form of prop Liam Hills and fellow front row players Steve Crane and Jonah Falconer when called upon, all locked together by the powerful second row combination of Josh Bailey and the mighty Jack Ward. The superiority of the front five has allowed the talented back row of 6 Sam Harris, 7 Luke Stewart and no8 Peter Meachin, to perform to their best and all of them sparkled under the floodlights to create havoc both in defence and attack to keep Sutton moving forward and their opponents under sustained pressure throughout the game.
The game also saw the welcome return of Tom Harris to the key role of scrum half and behind a dominant pack the skilled playmaker was able to bring the able runners in the Sutton back division into play to good effect in cooperation with his half back partner Ben Morgan, who led the team out to mark his 100th appearance for the Sutton 1st XV over a period of 4 years having served a very successful apprenticeship with the Sutton junior sides before stepping up from the Sutton Colts team to make his debut for Sutton 1st XV on 30th Aug 2018 at Old Leamingtonians in the first round of the Warwickshire Cup - a game Sutton won 66-7.
So to the Friday evening game itself;
In front of another bumper Friday evening home crowd Sutton bounced back from the disappointment of defeat at Stoke on Trent with an outstanding team display under the excellent RSG lights that saw them score six tries against a good Stourbridge side in an emphatic 36-17 bonus point victory, having restricted the visitors to just 3 tries in the final quarter of the game.
Sutton kicked off in cold but perfect playing conditions taking the game to their opponents in the Stourbridge half applying sustained pressure but after the opening few minutes the visitors turned the tables and brought play back into the Sutton half but then after initially absorbing what was a bright start by the visitors, Sutton took control of the game from the 10 minute mark with their set piece play the basis of their dominance that remained for the rest of the game.
Good line-speed, aggressive tackling, big carries and good decision making led to a 19-0 lead being established at the break thanks to tries by centre Jacob Jones (14) after a good handling move in the Lion's 22, winger Chris Duckworth (24), who latched onto a clever chip over the try line by scrum half Tom Harris and with his 7th try of the season, leading try scorer Jack Ward charged over on 30 minutes. Centurion fly half Ben Morgan converted the first and the last of the trio of tries.
The Sutton dominance continued into the second half and within two minutes of the restart teenager Jones and his dancing feet had secured the bonus point with his 2nd try of the night and his 4th in the last 3 games extending the Sutton lead to 24-0.
However, to their credit Stourbridge responded well to the growing deficit and centre Sam Shepherd got Stourbridge on the board with a weaving solo effort after 59 minutes to claim an unconverted try wide on the right but any joy for the visitors was short-lived as the Sutton pack re-exerted their dominance, with replacement prop Liam Hills joining the pack from the bench to make a welcome return from injury, as Sutton scored two 5 metre pushover tries in the space of 3 minutes with the game’s outstanding player Luke Stewart touching down both after 63 and 66 minutes respectively, Morgan converted the first one and the lead was extended to 36-5 with 14 minutes left to play.
Time was running out for the Lions to salvage anything from the game but fair play to the visitors, who battled hard throughout a challenging contest and their efforts were rewarded with two late tries. The first by Jack Noott ( on 76 mins) was converted by Sam Wilson and then an 80 metre interception try by George Tildesley (79), who ran strongly from within his own 22, brought the final score to 36-17 in Sutton's favour.
In many ways this was Sutton’s best display of the season with certain passages of play a joy to behold; six tries scored and several other nearly moments particularly in the second half. Having missed the last 8 games because of injury risk to the newly recruited police officer, scrum half Tom Harris had a great influence on proceedings in his first game back for the 1st XV as did the back row where Peter Meachin particularly caught the eye and was desperately unlucky to have a try ruled out. However, it was his partner in play Luke Stewart, back into the team after injury forced him to miss the last two games, who walked off with the bubbly after a simply awesome display both in defence and attack.
The Sutton 1st XV take a much needed and well earned break from the pressures of league rugby this weekend, with Worcester Wanderers providing the next opposition on Saturday 17th Nov 2018, when the Worcestershire side travel to Walmley Road for a 2.15pm kick off.