A tough day
By Jim Hartley
A heroic performance
Match Report Sunday 9th December 2018
Sutton Coldfield RFC u15s v Mansfield RFC u15s
Sutton u15s hosted Mansfield RFC following a first meeting between the two clubs last season. Sutton were under-strength due to a combination of absence and injury/illness and so were only able to field 14 players against Mansfield at full strength.
The first half was full of tries, despite some very strong defence from both sides. Sutton were first to score when Jamie Skilton capitalised on an initial drive by King-Jerry Adu to dive over the line beneath the posts. Henry Nevitt converted in very blustery conditions. Mansfield hit straight back with a try of their own under the posts, also converted. Mansfield then went ahead when their winger was able to take advantage of the extra space provided by Sutton’s short numbers to runa round the outside of the defence and score. This try went unconverted. Sutton then scored in the very corner when Matt Smith dived over to score a try awarded after some discussion with the officials. This try was also unconverted as Henry’s accurate kick held up in the wind. Once again, Mansfield quickly restored their lead with a drive under the posts, which was converted. Sutton hit back and scored through Matt Goodwin when the opposition defence was focussed on preventing an expected carry by King-Jerry. Again this try went unconverted in the difficult conditions. The try spree continued when Mansfield again ran through to score an unconverted try. Sutton finished the first half scoring when Matt Smith ran strongly through the heart of the Mansfield defence to score but again this went unconverted. Half time score: Sutton Coldfield RFC 22; Mansfield RFC 24.
The second half was much tighter, with both sides challenging strongly at the breakdown and restricting space for the opposition. Sutton were reduced to 13 men when King-Jerry went off with an injury to his face. Despite this, the defence held up strongly. Both sides were reduced further when a player from each side was sent to the sin bin for an altercation, as the tension in the game started to boil over. Both sides were warned by the referee about foul play. There was no further score in the half until five minutes from time, when Sutton were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. With Henry Nevitt carrying a knee injury and, despite the blustery conditions, Matt Smith was able to knock the penalty over to give Sutton the lead with a few minutes remaining. Mansfield were determined to gain the victory and Sutton equally determined to hold on. The final play of the game saw heartbreak for Sutton when Mansfield once again managed to finally free their winger to run around the outside of the now very depleted defence to score under the posts to give their kicker an easy conversion. Final score: Sutton Coldfield RFC 25; Mansfield RFC 31.
Despite the loss, this was another excellent performance from Sutton, particularly considering their numerical disadvantage. The team played right to the end and very nearly gained a famous victory. The Christmas break now gives the side a chance to recuperate ready for 2019, which starts with a home game against a traditionally very strong opponent, Hinckley RFC. A chance to really see how far Sutton have come this season!