A Bonus Point Win for SCRFC

Syston RFC 3 pts v Sutton Coldfield 29 pts

Last Updated: Dec 3, 2013 04:07pm
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By David Daniels
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National League 3 Midlands 

On a bright Autumnal day in Leicestershire, the inform Sutton team and their loyal travelling supporters endured a frustrating, forward dominated game but Sutton were able to match their difficult opponents in the forward exchanges and show enough of their attacking flair and sparkle to secure a 29-3 bonus point victory over the powerful Syston side, who are more dangerous than their lowly league position would suggest.

Although the game was dominated by scrums and forward play as preferred by their opponents and was not the open flowing rugby that Sutton prefer, the visitors showed good judgement and game management to produce a four try to nil winning margin with centre Alex White leading the Sutton scorers with 2 tries plus 3 conversions and a penalty for a personal tally of 19 points. The other tries were scored by flanker Brook Davies and freerunning no8 Fraser Tait respectively.

With the league table corrected to award Sutton the bonus point that the results service failed to include in the win over South Leicester the previous week and with Old Halesonians losing last weekend, this latest convincing win moves Sutton into a clear second place on 45 points, 1 point behind league leaders Nuneaton and 1 point ahead of Broadstreet in 3rd place with early pace setters Old Halesonians dropping to 4th place on 42 points, in a tight top of the table battle with the games this weekend marking the midpoint of the season.

With Mark Rayner available again and restored to the key scrum half role the Sutton back line took on a more familiar and reassuring look, although regular supporters would have been surprised to see Josh Rolls wearing the 15 shirt instead of his usual 10, with skipper Dave Edwards starting on the right wing in place of the absent Nathan Burchell and Josh Groom continuing from last weekend at flyhalf. Alex White and Ian Miller continued their successful pairing in the centre and Tom Lucas came in on the left wing to replace the injured Rob Watts. With the experienced and talented Ben Toft on the bench as the backs sub, the Sutton back division looked strong and offered plenty of pace and ability given the right conditions and good possession. Happily the pack also lined up with a familiar look including the regular front row of Sean Harrison, Mike Worthington and Liam Hills, supported by the established outstanding back row of Brook Davies, Luke Stewart and no8 Fraser Tait... but the 2nd row saw another new pairing  with Matt Black joining Adam Bennett as a very effective partnership in the powerhouse of the pack and with the mighty Jamie Scott providing strong cover across the front row and the multitalented Jack Woodcock covering the back five pack positions, the Sutton team ticked all the boxes.  

As a result and breaking with their away form earlier in the season, Sutton started the game strongly and within 5 minutes they had taken a 7-0 lead when the ball was spun out from the base of a ruck in the Syston 22 and quick ball from scrum half Mark Rayner to flyhalf Josh Groom set up flanker Brook Davies, who charged over to score close to the posts giving centre Alex White a simple conversion and Sutton the perfect start.

The build up to the opening try came from a mistake by the home side when they over threw at a lineout on the halfway line and Sutton's lively scrum half Mark Rayner raced in to gather the ball at pace racing deep into Syston territory and quick support by Sutton set up the attacking position leading to the try.  

Syston came back strongly following the restart and in spite of strong defence by Sutton, which restricted them to long range attacks. they clawed back 3 points when Sutton were penalised for not releasing after the tackle and their tall flyhalf Ian Smith struck an accurate 40 metre penalty to close the score to 3-7 after 12 minutes of play.

For the next 20 minutes the game continued to ebb and flow with neither side taking control and both sides were guilty of unforced errors in the early untidy exchanges, which broke up the play. During this period the game was somewhat disjointed with scrums being the dominant element of play where the home pack proved to be very disruptive but gradually Sutton came to terms with their difficult scrummaging opponents and 6 minutes before the interval centre Alex White powered over for a try following a break down the right wing by Sutton captain Dave Edwards, which took play deep into the Syston 22. Alex White converted his own try to give Sutton a 14-3 lead and then the centre extended the Sutton lead to 17-3 with the last kick of the first half when the home side were penalised in front of their own posts.

The second half proved to be a scrappy affair with both sides showing strong defence to snuff out any promising attacks but it was the visitors who enjoyed the best of the exchanges and mid way through the final period Fraser Tait, standing at the back of a Sutton lineout in the Syston 22, caught a long throw to the back of the line and a few long strides plus a long reach allowed the talented no8 to stretch over the try line for Sutton's 3rd try. Alex White added the difficult touchline conversion to extend Sutton's lead to 24-3 with 20 minutes to play.

With the game all but secure, Sutton went in search of the all important 4th try and a valuable bonus point but a defiant Syston were not going to concede easily and it took all of Sutton's new found maturity and discipline to keep up the pressure on their powerful hosts, who to their credit were now playing for pride but with great conviction. However, as the final play developed, Sutton's recently restored confidence in their ability gave them belief in the closing minutes and they stayed focused on the task in hand, quelling any growing frustration as the time ticked by. The relentless Sutton pressure in the Syston third of the field finally created an opening for no8 Fraser Tait, who raced to the try line through the heart of the Syston midfield defence before releasing the ball which was quickly fed to Alex White who raced in to clinch the game and land the all important 4th try with just 5 minutes to play...

This weekend Sutton welcome Bedford Athletic to the delights of the Roger Smoldon Ground, Walmley Road for their first visit in many years to the home of Sutton rugby. This game will mark the end of the first half of the season and is Sutton's last home game before the Christmas break... so all rugby fans in the Sutton Coldfield area are invited to come along and enjoy a sporting start to the festivities at Sutton Coldfield's premier rugby club, where all will be assured of a warm welcome both at pitch side and in the clubhouse afterwards. KO 2.15       


SCRFC other team results:

Last weekend was a WINNING WEEKEND for the Sutton club, with all teams playing away and winning their respective games. 

The Sutton Development Side proved their continuing improvement with a resounding 58-5 victory over a Broadstreet 2nd XV and the Sutton 3rd XV capped a great weekend for the club with a convincing 45-5 victory over Droitwich 2nd XV in the Midlands West Reserve Division 3 league.



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