Picture: Katie Gregory scores for Sutts
Sutton Coldfield Women 28 - Lutterworth 7
After a seven week layoff Sutton Coldfield Women returned to action this afternoon at the RSG recording a hard fought 28-7 win over a fiercely competitive and physical Lutterworth outfit who pushed the league leaders all the way for the full 80 minutes.
Despite understandable signs of ring rustiness by the Sutton girls having not played for so long they still made a bright start with full back Kerrie-Anne Melsom opening the scoring in the 4th minute. As Sutton pressed forward through carries by Nafeesah Nabi and Tara Wheeldon in the front row, Lutterworth’s defence was caught off ball by a wide ball by Livermore allowing Melsom to step through a gap and score her 5th try of the season, superbly converted by fly half Alison Livermore.
Teenage open side Roisin McBrien then made an incredible individual brake from half way after 13 minutes to register her 5th try in only her 2nd appearance, Alison Livermore knocked over the conversion to extend the lead to 14-0. Despite further breaks from Genna Pilling and Holly Wheeldon who were both on fine form, Sutton were unable to turn their first half possession into further scores.
As the 2nd half began conditions began to worsen by the minute with a gale force wind taking hold resulting in play becoming extremely scrappy. The half time break also proved an opportune time for Sutton to introduce a number of frontline players from their loaded bench which proved telling as the half wore on with ascendancy eventually being gained at scrum time and the breakdown although the elements meant the game was stop-start due to numerous handling errors.
After 59 minutes teenager Katie Gregory ran a superb line from centre, taking out several of the opponents in the visiting defence to score her 8th try of the season which Alison Livermore added to with a superb conversion in the conditions to extend the lead to 21-0.
Maria Crowfoot then produced a touch of class after 76 minutes that created the opportunity for her 6th try of the campaign which Kerrie-Anne Melsom added to with another fine conversion to push the lead out to 28-0. With time running out and Sutton pushing hard for a 5th try to secure the bonus point the visitors reacted first to a breaking ball on half way allowing Emily Powell to cross for a deserved consolation score which Emily Bliss converted making the final score 28-7.
The value of this win only became clear later when news came through that closest challengers Peterborough had lost at Five Ways Old Eds and although disappointed initially not to have secured the bonus point the reality is that we’ve actually extended our lead at the top of the table to 3 points with a game in hand.