Burton 14 v 24 Sutton Coldfield

National League 3 Midlands

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2015 06:18am
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By David Daniels
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At last Sutton 1st XV have recorded a crucial first away league victory of the season, against an improving Burton side, who after promotion from Midlands 1 last season are recovering after a poor start to the season and are now a much better team than their lowly league position suggests.
Sutton started the game without an away win to their name all season and although their battling hosts mounted a robust challenge, taking a 6-0 lead after 16 minutes with a 6-5 lead at the break, Sutton imposed themselves in an exciting second half scoring 3 more tries to secure a 24-14 bonus point victory and break their away day duck in style.
Burton kicked off on a heavy pitch, which showed signs of the recent rains but had benefitted from recent drainage efforts by the Burton ground staff and was soft but quite playable. The opening 10 minutes saw an even contest played between the respective 22 metre lines with both sides having chances but the defences held firm until on 10 minutes centre Dave Archer kicked Burton into a 3-0 lead with a 35 metre penalty when Sutton were caught offside in mid-field. The game continued in a similar vein with neither side taking control and scrappy play by both sides in turn tended to disrupt the game but 16 minutes in Dave Archer kicked a second penalty, when Sutton were again caught offside in mid-field and the early 6-0 lead gave hope to the loyal and vocal home support.
At this stage Sutton stepped up their game and the Sutton pack started to dominate the scrums with powerful drives putting increasing pressure on the Burton pack, who struggled to match the Sutton scrummaging technique. From a penalty in midfield Sutton centre Alex White kicked the ball accurately into the opposition 22 and a good lineout take saw Sutton driving for the line but as the forward drive was held up the ball was released and a breakaway group made a secondary drive for the try line with livewire prop Liam Hills completing a fine score to the left of the posts. Unfortunately the well struck conversion brushed the outside of the right post but the score had moved onto 6-5 after 30 minutes of play. From the restart Sutton continued to press in the Burton half but without success and 6-5 remained the margin at the halftime break.
Sutton started the second half strongly seeking an all important win that could be critical to their final league placing at this critical stage in a testing season and 5 minutes after the restart the increased pressure told when an impatient Burton substitute was yellow carded for an infringement at a breakdown in the Burton 22 and 5 minutes later Sutton made the extra man count when after successive scrums on the Sutton right wing committed the opposition defence. The ball was swung across the Burton 22 and returning wing Rob Watts celebrated his return from injury when he powered over in the left corner for an excellent try to take Sutton into the lead at 10-6, 10 minutes into the second half.
Unfortunately, Sutton were caught cold at the restart as Burton recovered the ball from the kick off to their right wing and fed it to fullback Nick Oxley, who showed the pace and danger posed by the Burton backs as he found a gap in the Sutton midfield to race cross field into the left corner for a fine solo try. The score allowed Burton to retake the lead at 11-10 with 11 minutes of the second half played and although Sutton again pressed hard with near misses, such is the frustration of sport where inches can make all the difference, as Sutton centre Jon Raistrick chased a kick ahead which just trickled over the try line and was grounded by Burton to deny the score before the flying centre could reach it.
Burton cleared their lines with a 22 metre drop out and then extended their lead to 14-10 with a third penalty by Dave Archer, when Sutton were again caught off side in their 22. With 16 minutes left to play Sutton reasserted themselves and from the restart they drove play into the top right corner of the Burton 22 and sustained pressure and successive scrums led inevitably to a penalty try when the Burton pack proved unable to withstand the pressure applied by the Sutton 8. Alex White added the simple conversion to give Sutton a deserved 17-14 lead with 12 minutes left to play and from that point Sutton were able to close out the game with their increasing pressure leading to another yellow card for an increasingly desperate Burton... and then with 7 minutes left to play centre Jonny Raistrick secured the game and a bonus point for Sutton with a sweeping run from left to right across the Burton 22 to score an excellent try in the right corner. Alex White added the inch perfect touchline conversion to complete an important 24-14 bonus point victory for a Sutton side, who can sympathise with a talented Burton side struggling to do themselves justice in close contests. 
This weekend Sutton are scheduled to travel to the Barker Butts ground as the neutral venue for the Warwickshire Cup semi-final against Nuneaton RFC for what should be a testing contest with Nuneaton now 3rd an Sutton 10th in National League 3. 
Barker Butts - Sunday 25th Jan 2015 KO 2.15.
Photo: File pic
Sutton other team results:
Saturday 17th Jan 2015 proved to an all too rare red letter day for the Sutton club this season with all three senior teams securing morale boosting victories as the 2nd XV ( development side) defeated a Lichfield 2nd XV 37-0 at home and Sutton 3rd XV under the coaching influence of former 1st XV regular Dean Harper beat Old Salts 17-12.


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