Match report 1st XV - Sat 24th Nov 2018
By Ken Sims
Whitchurch RFC 15pts - Sutton Coldfield 3pts
Picture - Winger Tom Burrows coming close to a consolation try in the final minutes
SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager
Whitchurch RFC 15pts - Sutton Coldfield 3pts
For the second week running Sutton 1st XV were slow to settle into the game and struggled to find any fluency in their early play. Faced by an inform and confident 4th placed home side, who took full advantage of the opportunities on offer, midway through the first half Sutton found themselves trailing the efficient and well coached Whitchurch side 15-0, having conceded a converted try, a penalty and an unconverted try during a difficult opening period of play for the visitors, who struggled to rekindle their good form from earlier in the season and they went into the break 15-0 down.
The second half saw a much better performance by the Sutton side, who stepped up their game after the break and with the scrums and lineouts going well Sutton had the better of the possession and territory during the final 40 minute period. The sustained pressure produced by Sutton put Whitchurch on the back foot and 10 minutes into the second half Sutton forced a penalty, when the home side were caught offside in front of their posts allowing fly half Ben Morgan to open the Sutton account with a well struck penalty to close to 15-3 but although Sutton were in the ascendency they were unable to make the vital breakthrough that their build-up play deserved mainly due to the well organised and effective defence produced by their opponents but also Sutton were let down all too often by taking the wrong option or failing with the final pass as their play developed and the try line beckoned, so chances were missed.
Sutton had kicked off under a dry and overcast sky but in perfect playing conditions and the visitors applied early pressure in the Whitchurch half but unfortunately Sutton were penalised at the early scrums for front row infringements as the scrums collapsed and Whitchurch were able escape the early Sutton pressure taking play back into the Sutton half. From a lineout on the Whitchurch left touchline following another penalty, Whitchurch won possession and ran the ball across the field from left to right before switching back inside to their supporting no7 Jack Furnival, who had tracked the play and raced in to score to the right of the posts after just 5 minutes of play.
Winger Tomas Skone added the conversion and then 6 minutes later the winger added a penalty, when Sutton attempted to run the ball out of defence but were penalised for crossing in their 22 and Skone stretched the Whitchurch advantage to 10-0, punishing Sutton for their enterprise.
Having absorbed the early Sutton pressure and built up a significant lead in just 11 minutes, following the restart Whitchurch stepped up the pressure on their visitors and only a strong defensive wall and great tackling by Sutton prevented a further score immediately.
However, the Sutton cause was not helped by small errors like missing touch with a long clearance kick, which kept the pressure on the beleaguered Sutton side and 22 minutes into the game growing in confidence Whitchurch advanced down their left wing before spinning the ball across the backline from left to right outflanking the Sutton defence and the Whitchurch fly half Ryan Horton found himself running into the Sutton 22 towards a lone Sutton defender, with his winger outside him providing a classic two on one. The wily fly half duly dummied the pass and went over for a well worked try. The difficult conversion to the right of the posts was missed but the try extended the score line to 15-0 with 18 minutes to play to the break, which passed with a spirited response by Sutton but without further score.
To their credit Sutton made a strong start to the second half and virtually set their tanks in their hosts 22 for much of the second period but a combination of solid defence by the home club and flawed finishing by the visitors meant all Sutton had to show for their spirited revival were the 3 points from the boot of fly half Ben Morgan. The closest that Sutton came to adding to their score came in the closing minutes of the game, when at last Sutton's top finisher, right wing Tom Burrows received the ball with a chance to attack the Whitchurch try line in the right corner but unfortunately he was allowed very space in which to operate and was quickly closed down by defenders with a last ditch fierce tackle over the line and in the melee the referee, with no video referee to appeal to, was unable confirm that the try had been grounded cleanly and the chance was lost...typical of Sutton's day.
This weekend Sutton face another stern test when they welcome league leaders Bromsgrove to the RSG, Walmley Road, as old friends and long standing respected rivals, for what should be another challenging and highly entertaining game of rugby. KO 2.15.
All support welcome both on the touchline and in the bar after the game.