Match reports - 16th & 17th Feb 2019
By Ken Sims
1st XV - Sutton Coldfield 10pts v Stoke RFC 24pts
Match day photograph:
The above photo shows Sutton's victorious Colts Side after their impressive victory over the Veseyans Colts Side.
1st XV Manager
Sutton Coldfield 10pts v Stoke RFC 24pts
During preparation for last weekends league fixture, Sutton's recent run of disappointing results was not helped when their misfortunes continued with injuries to two key players incurred during midweek training as the team prepared for last weekend's significant fixture, which brought together 6th place Stoke against 8th place Sutton, with 7 games to play to the end of the season.
The players involved in the training ground incidents were hooker Dean Ginn, who has been a regular and reliable mainstay of the first team throughout the season so far, performing at the heart of the pack and throwing in at the lineouts together with his outstanding hard hitting abilities in the open play and he was joined in the medical room by the unfortunate Luke Stewart, who had been side lined with a groin strain denying the first XV his outstanding qualities for many weeks and ironically he had just returned to full fitness after playing in a recent 2nd XV fixture... and was now ready to make his long anticipated return to 1st XV action last weekend but in a cruel blow he twisted his ankle in an innocent incident during training and after an initial assessment by the club physio he was dispatched to hospital for further examination returning with his ankle encased in a medical boot. Unfortunately the long term prognosis on both players suggests that neither is likely to recover before the end of the season denying Sutton their valuable services.
As a result of the training ground casualties and further absentees due to availabilities etc. a much changed Sutton pack took to the field last weekend with a completely new front row combination from that seen in recent weeks and with veteran Steve McCormack and the youthful Lewis Belton forming a new partnership in the second row there were five changes from the eight who had played in the Sutton pack the previous week.
In spite of the many changes the strong Sutton pack performed well in the set scrums and held their own against formidable opposition however, with a new hooker throwing in to new jumpers and lifters not surprising the lineout did not function well early in the game denying the home side good possession from hard earned lineouts in the Stoke half during a challenging first period as the Sutton team had to settle to their new personnel and line-up.
Sutton had kicked off in bright sunshine shining through cloudy skies and they made a good start pushing play deep into the Stoke half applying good pressure but unfortunately a Sutton error in the opposition 22 handed the ball back to Stoke, who cleared their lines to take play back into the Sutton half. For the next period the game was evenly balanced until Sutton made an excellent run towards the Stoke try line but unfortunately what should have been a try scoring pass was judged to have been forward just short of the try line and the game was restarted with a scrum to Stoke.
From the scrum Stoke made their way up-field with long kicks to touch, winning Sutton ball at the lineout to keep possession but although at a disadvantage the spirited Sutton side continued to battle hard and they kept their opponents under pressure with good play by the forwards and backs. However, on 15 minutes the opening score fell to Stoke in strange circumstances. Sutton had mounted a strong attack following up a long kick ahead, which was touched down by Stoke leading to a 22 drop-out but as the ball was struck hard intending a long clearance, the ball was half charged down by Sutton and deflected into the arms of a fast moving Stoke player who raced clear into space deep in the Sutton half before offloading to outside centre Jamie Losca, who raced in to score under the posts giving fly half Andy Marsh an easy conversion and the visitors a 7-0 lead after 15 minutes of play.
In spite of their difficulties Sutton were still very much involved in was becoming a hard fought and close contest but once again as Sutton pressed in the Stoke 22 a breakout by Stoke assisted by a missed tackle set-up an overlap allowing outside centre Jamie Lasca to race in for his second long range try of the day.
The try went unconverted but Stoke had moved into 12-0 lead with 25 minutes played. However, the increased deficit inspired Sutton and they set up a multiphase attack with the ball carried forward initially by young 2nd row Lewis Belton, who passed expertly to back row Tom Foulsham, who in turn off-loaded brilliantly to 2nd row ball carrier Steve McCormack taking the ball deep into the Stoke 22 before scrum half Ollie Green, who was closely tracking the play gathered the ball as the drive went to ground and the wily scrum half weaved his way through the massed defenders to score a well deserved try.
Unfortunately the conversion drifted wide but Sutton had closed to 5-12 with 30 minutes played and in the remaining 10 minutes of the half Sutton had to defend strongly as the visitors threw everything they had at Sutton in a desperate attempt to extend their lead before the break. But an outstanding try saving tackle on the try line led by fullback Joel James drove the Stoke left wing into touch before he could ground the ball and then from the resulting 5 metre lineout Sutton defended a series of scrums, rucks and mauls on their try line which continued deep into injury time until a knock-on by Stoke ended the half.
Sutton received the ball from the restart and an excellent run by Sutton's open side flanker Tom Foulsham saw him beat a number of would be defenders as he raced into the Stoke half but unfortunately a pass intended for Sutton's speedy left wing George Creed went to a Stoke player, who gathered the ball on his right wing and quickly sent the ball spinning on its way across the field from right to left into the hands of left wing Glenn Joss, who raced into space on his left wing rounding the Sutton defence to score a dramatic try under the Sutton posts inflicting a sever blow on Sutton as fly half Andy Marsh added the simple conversion to extend the Stoke lead to 19-5 after just 2 minutes of play in the second half. The very start Sutton had wanted for themselves.
However, Suttons problems were compounded when just 5 minutes later Stokes captain and erstwhile hooker Sam Yorke forced his way over the try line for a fourth bonus point try and the well struck conversion by fly half Marsh stretched the Stoke lead to 24-5 with 33 minutes left in the game.
Again Sutton rallied following the increased deficit and brought on the powerful Jack Ward from the bench to add to their penetration in the loose such that 14 minutes into the second half he made a dramatic contribution as he charged over the Stoke try line providing the perfect finish to an outstanding break produced by centre Paul Spiby, who burst through the midfield before offloading to the formidable Ward, who completed the run to the try line with typical aplomb, closing the score line to 24-10 with 26 minutes to play.
During the closing period Sutton stepped up their play as they fought fiercely to take something from the game but just 4 minutes after scoring his try the formidable Jack Ward turned from hero to villain when he was shown a yellow card reducing Sutton to fourteen men for 10 minutes in the crucial final 22 minutes of the game and with neither side conceding in this final period, although restored to a full 15 the clock ran down on Sutton's efforts to record a disappointing 24-10, 4 tries to 2 home defeat for Sutton.
On the plus side, although serving in a losing cause Sutton were pleased to welcome the talented Danny Griffin back at short notice to step into the breech as cover for the injured Dean Ginn in the key role of hooker and hopefully Danny will adjust quickly to the demands of the 1st XV game during the upcoming training sessions.
With 6 league games left to the end of the season and with Sutton currently sitting in 9th place in the league table, the 1st XV take a deserved break from league rugby this weekend, which is designated as a rest or catch-up weekend in the league calendar and the squad will be working hard in training over the next two weeks to rediscover the discipline and teamwork that served them so well at the start of the season but appears to have deserted them at present, so they can end the season on a high when they resume their league campaign with a Friday evening floodlit game away to Stourbridge Lions on the 1st March 2019 KO 7.30pm.
Match report - 16th Feb 2019
Sutton Coldfield Development Side 25pts v Lichfield RFC 41pts
North Midlands Reserve Team League Cup - 2nd Round
The injuries suffered by the 1st XV also impacted on the Sutton Development Side as key players like long serving prop Dave Smith, 2nd row teenager Lewis Belton and newly returned flanker Jack O'Brien were drafted into the 1st XV pack along with Sam Grimshaw and Will Smewin from the backs giving them a great chance for 1st XV action but denying their valued services to the Sutton second string.
In spite of the late changes, under team manager Simon Davies Sutton still fielded a strong side to face their close neighbours and old rivals Lichfield in the Second Round of the North Midlands Reserve Team League Cup but it was the visitors who hit the ground running taking a 31-5 lead in the first half.
However, Sutton settled to their task in the second half and found an extra gear to outscore their erstwhile opponents by 20-10 in an excellent and encouraging second half performance but unfortunately the aggregate score of 41-25 saw Sutton exit the Cup as rivals Lichfield marched on into the next round.
The Sutton try scorers were Chris Duckworth with a brace plus Luke Brindley, Harrison Casey and Dean Mannion-Quinn with a try each in the 5 try haul but they were outscored by Lichfield, who scored 7 tries plus 3 conversions in a highly entertaining game, which was a credit to both sides.
Match report - 17th Feb 2019
Veseyan Colts 5pts v Sutton Colts 47pts
North Midlands Colts League
After the disappointing results suffered by the Sutton senior men in their respective matches the previous day, last Sunday Sutton Colts took to the field at Veseyans Rugby Club to show that the playing future of Sutton Rugby Club is in safe hands as they defeated their counterparts at Veseyans by the impressive margin of 47-5, scoring 7 tries plus 6 conversions whilst restricting their opponents to a single try scored by Josh Smith 26 minutes into the first half.
The Sutton tries were scored by Ryan Potter on 8 minutes, Aidan Towse on 15 minutes, Tom Pollard on 21 minutes, Warwick Pallister on 32 mins & 42 minutes, Dave Thomas on 50 minutes and Sam Williams on 68 minutes with Harry Wheelwright adding an impressive 6 out of 7 conversions in an outstanding performance by the Sutton youth players.