A Close Contest for Sutton

Sutton Coldfield 3 - 10 Stratford Upon Avon

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2016 08:56pm
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By David Daniels
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Sutton Coldfield RFC 3 pts v Stratford u Avon 10 pts

Midlands 1 West


Once again Sutton played some good rugby and dominated much of the territory and possession in a close fought low scoring contest against a team currently sitting 3rd in the league but the home side failed to turn the pressure into points and with Stratford striking with a long range penalty to close the first half at 3-0 against the run of play, then sneaking a try and conversion 10 minutes into the second half for 10-0, Sutton could only manage a Ben Morgan penalty to salvage a losing bonus point in a frustrating 10-3 defeat. 

Sutton kicked off in dry firm conditions and immediately applied pressure in the Stratford half but the early exchanges proved to be even handed with Sutton holding their own in the scrums against strong opposition and winning good lineout ball providing a solid base from which to launch successive attacks with 17 year old Laurie Harries continuing in the key role of fly half alongside a lively Ben Morgan, who continued with his successful transformation into a very effective scrum half. 

During the first quarter neither side made a breakthrough but Sutton were unlucky to see successive long range penalty 40m kicks drift just wide denying them the lead and alongside these frustration Sutton also suffered a yellow card for what was considered to be a deliberate knock-on to halt a Stratford attack. No score came from the misdemeanor and Sutton survived the 10 minute sin bin without conceding and in deed they forged counter attacks and nearly took the lead but handling errors and poor options by both sides broke up the flow of the game but still no score...until 5 minutes before the break Stratford were awarded a penalty in midfield on the Sutton 10 metre line and fullback Nathan Geekie, kicked the points to give Stratford a 3-0 lead going into the break, very much against the run of play. 

With everything to play for the second half started at a rush leading to injuries to players from both sides disrupting the game, which was halted whilst the injuries were treated and the game was restarted with a scrum on Sutton's 22 in midfield. Sutton fed the scrum but surprisingly the ball came out on the Stratford side and was moved quickly to the left and into the hands of fly half Jim Southall catching Sutton by surprise and the sprightly runner raced in for the try, which was converted from the left touchline by fullback Geekie to extend the Stratford lead to 10-0 with 30 minutes left to play. 

Stunned but not out of it Sutton responded positively from the restart forcing a penalty on the edge of the Stratford 22 and Ben Morgan duly kicked the points to close to 10-3 just 2 minutes later. Chasing the win Sutton stepped up their game forcing Stratford onto the back foot and causing the visitors to concede a yellow card but still the all important scores would not come. 

Unfortunately the final 10 minute period descended into farce as the growing frustrations caused frictions to rise and two players, a flanker from each side, were caught fighting off the ball and each received a red card reducing both sides to 14 men for the remainder of the game. 

Then in the closing minutes of the game with Sutton camped on the Stratford try line striving for the illusive scores which could win the game for the home side, the Stratford captain/hooker was shown a yellow card for an infringement just 5 metres from the Stratford try line...but then with the hooker off the field Stratford claimed their recognised front row replacement was not available to play either because of injury or a card, so with only two recognised front row players available the visitors convinced the referee that the game had to be completed with uncontested scrums, which favoured Stratford not Sutton. 

Instead of gaining an advantage from the Stratford yellow card, uncontested scrums were in fact a big disadvantage to the Sutton side for although the yellow card gave Sutton a man advantage in the pack this was neutralised by uncontested scrums and handed the advantage back to the visitors. With Sutton still camped on their try line canny Stratford saw out the time remaining to protect their 10-3 lead in a series of 5 metre scrums, which Sutton couldn't contest to drive over the try line and Sutton were left to reflect on their own frustrations, which remained in spite of a much improved performance. 

This weekend Sutton welcome Worcester Wanderers to the RSG, Walmley Road to continue their league campaign on a winning note encouraged by their two most recent performances, in the Warwickshire Cup and League respectively. KO 3pm.


Other team results:  


With Sutton Ladies having a training/social evening on the International pitch under the floodlights on Friday evening and with the Development Side and Sutton Vets respectively having no fixture last weekend, it fell to the Sutton 3rd XV to step into the spotlight and take centre stage on the new International pitch on Saturday afternoon, when they played a Harbourne 2nd XV in their league fixture. 

Both teams rose to the occasion and produced an enthralling contest with Sutton securing a convincing 41-22 victory. Sutton scored a magnificent 7 tries, led by Joshua Pugh with a fine hat-trick , followed by Luke Fleming with a brace and Dave Hoccum & Rhys Jones, who contributed a try each. The scorecard was completed by TJ Allwood, who added 2 conversions plus a conversion by Danny Bancroft. 


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