Match report 1st XV - 17th Nov 2018
By Ken Sims
Sutton Coldfield 8pts v Worcester RFC 18pts
SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager.
Sutton Coldfield 8pts v Worcester RFC 18pts
Once again Sutton 1st XV failed to follow the form book but not in a good way, when at the start of play Sutton were comfortably placed 5th in the league, having played some great rugby in recording 6 victories plus 6 bonus points in their previous 9 games; but in this their 10th league game Sutton appeared to be missing their recent sparkle and sharpness and in a low scoring contest they slipped to a disappointing 8-18 defeat against a Worcester side, who sat 11th in the league but the visitors appeared to have more appetite and desire to win the game and in the end assisted by an interception try in the closing minutes, they achieved a deserved but flattering victory. However in spite of their unexpected win they still sit in 11th place with Sutton still in 5th place.
Sutton kicked off in bright Autumn sunshine with perfect playing conditions underfoot and the home side applied early pressure in the Worcester 22 but clearly Sutton failed to understand the referees need for the ball to be released immediately on contact and they suffered a number of penalties for not releasing the ball quickly enough at the breakdown during what became an evenly matched first 10 minutes but with the Sutton scrum and lineouts going well the home side appeared to hold the key cards.
However, in a frustrating first quarter of the match Sutton were unable to take advantage of the clear try scoring chances they created and 20 minutes into the game for all their chances the home crowd had to settle for a 3-0 lead thanks to a penalty kicked by fly half Ben Morgan from 30 metres when Worcester were caught off side in mid-field.
Soon after Worcester drew level at 3-3 when centre Ollie Meadows kicked a 35 metre penalty and then on 38 minutes although Sutton stopped a strong forward drive short of the try line, the Worcester pack reformed and the back row broke from the fringe to feed full back Tom Biggs, who crossed at pace under the posts for a well executed try. Centre Ollie Meadows added the simple conversion to extend the Worcester lead to 10-3 which held until the break.
Sutton stepped up the pressure at the start of the second half and the introduction of prop Liam Hills into the Sutton front row from the bench saw Sutton start to dominate the scrums such that 10 minutes after the restart a defensive scrum for Worcester 5 metres from their try line was turned over by Sutton and the scrum was reset with Sutton given the put-in. From the reset scrum Sutton drove forward and then no8 Peter Meachin picked up at the base of the scrum to force his way over for an excellent score to the right of the posts. Unfortunately and inexplicitly the conversion was missed but Sutton had closed to within 2 points at 8-10 with 12 minutes of the second period played.
However, as Sutton steeled themselves to build on their partial recovery and redouble their efforts to take the lead they were penalised at the restart and Ollie Meadows kicked an impressive 39 metre penalty to extend the Worcester lead to 13-8 with 25 minutes to play.
At this point in the game Sutton were dominating the scrums and forward exchanges but on 56 minutes Worcester requested that the game went to uncontested scrums as they had injuries to 3 front row players and although Worcester went down to 14 players under the RFU regulations Sutton lost a significant advantage when they were left unable to compete at the set scrums
Sutton did redouble their efforts and they put together some good phases of play to create scoring chances but each time the final pass or option chosen was flawed and in particular one excellent passing movement when Sutton ran the ball from their own half to create an overlap on the right, the final scoring pass to the wing was thrown wildly and went straight into touch denying Sutton another chance...but that's rugby.
Again Sutton fought back and with just minutes left to play they mounted a dynamic counter attack running out of their own half taking the ball from left to right across the field but the final pass to the right wing was ill judged and went straight into the hands of substitute wing Tom Dodge, who gather the ball and raced 40 metres down his left touchline to score a decisive try in the left corner. The difficult touchline conversion was missed but the try gave Worcester an 18-8 lead denying Sutton even a losing bonus point.
In the time remaining Sutton did try for a consolation score of any sort but time ran out and based on their recent high calibre performances they were left to reflect on their below par performance.
Sutton have a chance to rediscover their sparkle and redeem themselves this weekend when they travel into Shropshire to face 4th place Whitchurch RFC, who sit one place above Sutton in a very competitive league. So expect another challenging game. KO 2.15pm.