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A Credible Start for SCRFC

Bromsgrove RFC 32 v 31 Sutton Coldfield

Last Updated: Sep 7, 2015 07:58pm
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By David Daniels
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Following a summer of recruitment and reshaping, the new look Sutton side opened up their 2015/16 league campaign with a disappointing but very creditable 32-31 defeat, after a spirited final surge nearly snatched victory for the visitors at the end of an exhilarating game of high quality rugby against a strong Bromsgrove team, who have proved hard to beat on their home patch over many years of competion between the two highly competitive clubs.
The enthusiastic and expectant new season supporters for both teams witnessed 7 well taken tries with Bromsgrove scoring 4 tries, 3 conversions and 2 penalties. Sutton scored 3 tries, 2 conversions and 4 penalties in a disciplined performance, which kept them on the right side of the referee, whilst under pressure their erstwhile opponents suffered 2 yellow cards, one in each half!
The Sutton score sheet recorded debut tries for centre/fullback/wing Ben Wiles and no8 Matt Dickerson plus an opening day try for the prolific Nathan Burchell and 4 penalties plus 2 conversions, 16 points in total, including an outrageous left footed drop goal conversion of the last try from the left touchline by young flyhalf Ben Morgan for a fast restart as Sutton chased the winning points in the closing minutes of injury time...
However it was not to be but Sutton can take great credit for their performance and the fighting spirit they showed in the final five minutes as they fought back from a 32-21 deficit to close on 32-31 speaks highly of the team spirit amongst the new and established team mates, who have bonded well during the summer months and can only get better as the season progresses.
Bromsgrove kicked off in perfect conditions for a competitive game of rugby and the fired up powerful host pack charged forward to apply the early pressure keeping Sutton in their own half during the opening exchanges. But the Sutton defence resisted the onslaught and held firm, however successive attempted breakouts by Sutton failed to reach Bromsgrove territory and 10 minutes into the game Bromsgrove took an early 3-0 lead when fullback Jon Critchlow kicked a 40 metre penalty with the help of the upright.
Sutton responded well to turn the tables applying pressure with surging runs, which tested the Bromsgrove defence and on 20 minutes Ben Morgan levelled the scores at 3-3 with a well struck penalty when Bromsgrove received their first yellow card for killing the ball in front of their own posts as Sutton pressed forward seeking a try.
Then 5 minutes later the Sutton backs opened up and with centres Alex White and Tom McNamee to the fore the ball was worked up field and swung to the right, into the hands of ace finisher Nathan Burchell, who raced in on the right wing for an excellent try. Unfortunately, the conversion rebounded off the post and Sutton were restricted to an 8-5 lead... but Sutton continued to press forward and another break by inform centre Tom McNamee took play into the Bromsgrove 22 setting up a debut try for hard working no8 Matt Dickerson, who supported the play and crashed over for an impressive score. 
Ben Morgan added the conversion to stretch Sutton's lead to 15-3 with 8 minutes of the first half remaining but Bromsgrove were far from finished and the period up to the break saw a flurry of scoring as no6 Tom Hardwick drove over for a try converted by Critchlow to close to 15-10 before Ben Morgan added a Sutton penalty to recover to 18-10 but this was cancelled out by a Critchlow penalty on the stroke of halftime.
The game restarted after the break at 18-13 in Sutton's favour with the home side on the attack and Sutton again in defensive mode. An excellent try saving tackle by fullback Ben Toft saved a certain try after 8 minutes of play but 15 minutes into the second period Sutton lost possession in their own half and after a fierce drive Bromsgrove no8 and captain Phil Horton drove over for a try.
The missed conversion left the scores level at 18-18 setting up an exciting finish to the game with 25 minutes to play.
Again Sutton responded well to the situation and sustained pressure led to a third penalty for Ben Morgan giving Sutton a slender 21-18 lead midway through the final period but Bromsgrove also showed their fighting spirit and good back play put replacement wing Sam Bastock in for a try in the left corner, which Critchlow converted from the touchline to retake the lead at 25-21 with 15 minutes left to play.
With the match on a knife edge, both sides stepped up their game applying pressure in turn but the home side took the initiative as they drove play deep into the Sutton 22 on the Bromsgrove left wing and after successive scrums on the Sutton try line collapsed, the referee awarded a penalty try converted by Critchlow and Bromsgrove took a daunting 32-21 lead with 5 minutes to play.
But to their great credit the new and established players in the Sutton side rallied together and to a man they responded to the challenging deficit, winning a penalty, converted by Ben Morgan to close to 32-24 with just minutes remaining and then taking the ball from the restart they attacked down the left wing led by livewire summer recruit Kinsey Stoddard, who had an outstanding debut game at openside flanker.
With the cover closing in, as the flanker drove for the line he flipped the ball to Ben Wiles, who crossed for an outstanding try in the corner. Without wasting time waiting for the kicking 'T' Ben Morgan deftly added the conversion with a superb dropped goal and with the score at 32-31 there was enough time for Bromsgrove to kick-off for the final play of the game. Sutton took the ball from the restart and drove into the Bromsgrove half but unfortunately the ball went forward in the subsequent play and the game ended with a welcome victory for Bromsgrove and an encouraging/honourable defeat for a very new Sutton side.
Although disappointed in defeat Sutton can be encouraged by their performance, which bodes well for the rest of the season, starting this weekend with a home fixture against Hinckley, who sit one place above Sutton at 7th & 8th respectively in a league table of 14 teams after the opening round of games. KO 3pm at the RSG, Walmley Road.   
 
Other team results:
 
Development side:
 
With a number of 1st and 2nd team players still committed to summer activities, Sutton's 2nd XV/development squad were struggling for numbers as they travelled into Herefordshire for their opening league fixture but they were still strong enough to beat a Hereford 2nd XV by sixty odd points to nil.
The star of the show was young Frenchman Benjamin Ollivier, who only came to the Sutton club a few days before his debut and he marshalled the Sutton side to great effect from flyhalf. Hopefully, this week he will be signing to play for the club for the next two seasons, which will provide valuable back-up and cover for the pivotal role of flyhalf.
 
3rd XV:
 
The Sutton 3rd XV travelled to Moseley Oaks for Saturday's fixture but a cancelled game at a higher level meant the home side fielded a much strengthened side creating a miss match, which made for no contest and was of no benefit to either side... and certainly not in keeping with the spirit of lower team, social rugby. However, Sutton bravely honoured the fixture and saw out the game, without loss of life or limb.  

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