1st XV Match report - 1st Dec 2018
By Ken Sims
Sutton Coldfield 1st XV 10pts v Bromsgrove RFC 15pts
Sutton enter the field through a tunnel provided by players from the mini club, who played a match before the start of the main game.
1st XV Team Manager
Sutton Coldfield 1st XV 10pts v Bromsgrove RFC 15pts
True to the long tradition of close contests between Sutton Coldfield and Bromsgrove over many seasons and across a number of different leagues, last Saturday saw another thriller. With just 15 minutes left to play Sutton were deservedly leading the league leaders 10-5 but in the space of 2 minutes Bromsgrove changed the course of events, scoring 10 points with first a penalty and then from the restart their skipper Ed Spalding raced in for a converted try under the posts transforming the score board to give the visitors a 15-10 lead, which they held onto during a dramatic to another classic encounter between the two clubs.
The close finish denied Bromsgrove top spot with Newbold pushing them down to second place but after an impressive performance Sutton had the consolation of a valuable losing bonus point and remain in seventh place.
For this challenging game against the league leaders Sutton fielded a strong pack featuring a front row of Chris Hanley, Dean Ginn and Liam Hills with talented regular Josh Bailey alongside Steve McCormack, who made a welcome return to complete a very impressive front five, with a special line-up in the back row led by skipper for the day Peter Meachin at 7, alongside the energetic Jack Ward at 8 and the powerful Lewis Snowden, who made his return to action at 6.
Against seriously good opposition the Sutton pack held their own in the scrums and lineouts and matched their opponents in the open play with the Sutton backs making good runs when the chances came and although it finally proved to be in a losing cause, Ollie Green celebrated his 50th appearance for Sutton 1st XV by scoring Sutton's only try of the match as he performed well in the unfamiliar role of fullback.
Bromsgrove had kicked off in front of a large expectant crowd, with good support for both sides and in spite of the overcast sky the pitch was in decent condition for a competitive game of running rugby and so it transpired with a fired up Bromsgrove applying the early pressure in the home 22 seeking to sweep Sutton aside but the Sutton defence held strong and although the home side conceded 4 penalties in the opening 12 minutes luckily for Sutton the Bromsgrove goal kicker had not adjusted his radar to suit the North Birmingham conditions and two kickable goal attempts were missed keeping the score at 0-0. However, Sutton's luck changed abruptly when a Bromsgrove player went down with a head injury close to the Sutton try line but play continued until stopped for another penalty against Sutton close to the injured player. Naively on hearing the whistle, Sutton stopped playing expecting play to be suspended to allow the medics to attend to the injured player but the Bromsgrove hooker James Gunther cleverly took a quick tap penalty and was allowed to race past the injured player and those treating him to score to the left of the posts to the amazement of the Sutton players and supporters...another lesson learned! Be on guard at all times.
The conversion was missed but the try gave Bromsgrove a 5-0 lead after 19 minutes play. Disappointed but not disheartened Sutton bounced back with a period of strong positive play taking play into the Bromsgrove half with fly half Ben Morgan producing some excellent line kicks throughout the game finding touch deep into Bromsgrove territory to keep Sutton on the front foot and under pressure Bromsgrove conceded a penalty on their 22 in front of the posts.
Ben Morgan landed the penalty to open the Sutton account closing to 3-5 after 24 minutes of play and Sutton continued in the ascendency for the remainder of the half but were unable to add to the score and halftime saw Bromsgrove retain their narrow 2 point advantage as the teams changed ends.
However, with Sutton still buzzing following a strong finish to the first half there was an explosive start to the second half as straight from the restart Sutton's skipper Peter Meachin reclaimed the ball and fed 19 year old inside centre Jacob Jones, who made a superb break down the right touchline breaking infield as he raced into the Bromsgrove 22 before delivering the perfect scoring pass to his supporting fullback Ollie Green, who dived in under the posts for a spectacular score just 1 minute into the second half.
Ben Morgan added the conversion to move Sutton into a deserved 10-5 lead and growing in confidence Sutton continued to compete well with steady scrums and excellent lineout work adding to a very entertaining and competitive game. Once again Sutton's hooker Dean Ginn was at the heart of everything and was particularly outstanding in the open play covering a lot of ground and proving very effective in defence and attack.
But 25 minutes into the second half crucially Sutton conceded a penalty 30 metres out to the left of the posts and this time fly half James Upton made no mistake with the kick to close Bromsgrove to 10-8 and then straight from the restart the ball fell to centre Ed Spalding, who found a gap on the Bromsgrove left and the skipper raced round under the posts to give Upton an easy conversion and Bromsgrove a 15-10 lead after 27 minutes play in the second half.
The final period of play saw some committed rugby by both teams as Sutton went all out for the win and Bromsgrove desperately sought two more tries to secure a try scoring bonus point, which would have kept them at the top of the table and in the final event apart from entertaining the spectators Bromsgrove were denied their bonus point but Sutton secured a losing bonus point.
This weekend Sutton travel to Droitwich RFC to renew old acquaintances and plan to return to winning ways after a slight dip following their impressive run earlier in the season. All support welcome. KO 2.15 pm.