Moseley Oak 43 - 21 Sutton Coldfield 21

Last Updated: Sep 29, 2016 09:41pm
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By David Daniels
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Midlands 1 West.


After two excellent home victories either side of a disappointing narrow away day defeat at Hereford, Sutton sat 4th in the table with three games played and last Friday evening they travelled across the city seeking to continue their good start to the season at the impressive home of newly promoted Moseley Oak RFC, who were unbeaten in their promotion winning season but had lost two and only won one, albeit against a previously unbeaten strong Stratford side, since their elevation to level six.


Unfortunately for Sutton last Friday evening under the floodlights the vastly experienced and powerful Moseley side found their promotion winning form in a daunting first half performance, which left the visitors trailing 36-0  at the break but to their great credit the young Sutton side responded well in the second half scoring 3 excellent tries starting with a delightful try for fly half Ben Morgan after just 5 minutes of the restart followed by a late brace for winger Miles Gregory and with Ben Morgan converting all the Sutton tries, whilst restricting the rampant home side to a single converted try in a highly competitive second half, which was won by Sutton in an honourable 43-21 defeat.


With two wins at home and two loses on the road Sutton now sit 8th in the league but still in touch with the leading group, level with Moseley on 10 points and just 5 points behind the 2nd & 3rd place teams equal on 15 points with league leaders Newport setting the pace on 18 points.  


Sutton kicked off on a perfect pitch with a great atmosphere created by the strong floodlights and an enthusiastic crowd but Moseley gathered the ball and immediately set the tone for the first half with a long range spiralling kick which went beyond the Sutton players into the in goal area and under pressure from a good chase Sutton touched down for a 22 metre drop out, which returned the ball to the home side, who drove play back into the Sutton 22. 


In the opening exchanges Sutton were pinned back in their own 22 coming under sustained pressure and unable to clear their lines against a strong breeze. During this opening period the Sutton defence held firm but on 10 minutes they succumbed to a penalty for not releasing 40 metre from goal and winger Alex Crisp stepped forward to land an excellent penalty and give the home side a 3-0 lead.


Although under increasing pressure the Sutton pack held up well against their powerful and very experienced opponents, with the Sutton lineout providing a reliable platform for possession under the stewardship of hooker Conor Thorneycroft but the highly charged home pack continued to dominate and 15 minutes into the game Moseley prop Muhammad Adayi was driven over for the opening try wide out on the Moseley right wing. Alex Crisp attempted the difficult conversion but he hit the post for his only miss of the evening in an outstanding demonstration of goal kicking with one penalty and 5 conversions from all parts of the pitch.


Trailing 8-0 Sutton kicked off but again Moseley dominated the play with long range well placed clearance kicks pinning Sutton back in their own half when ever they threatened a breakout and the home side used the possession and field position well to score 4 more tries leading up to the break. The first of the quartet of tries fell to fly half James Williams, who exploited a gap in the Sutton midfield in front of the posts 18 minutes into the game followed by a try for no7 Charles Thomas, who crossed following a break by Gareth Jones, who took the ball on from a Sutton dropout after 24 minutes of play and then second row Simon Homer was on hand to charge over for the bonus winning try 10 minutes before the break. To complete the first half scoring right wing Alex Crisp received a perfectly placed cross field kick from fly half James Williams inside the Sutton 22 to score Moseley's 5th try of the first half and with the winger adding 4 conversions the home side held a daunting 36-0 lead at the break.


In spite of the daunting deficit Sutton started the second half positively and receiving the ball from the kick off they drove play back into the Moseley half applying pressure in the host club's 22 after winning a penalty in midfield and kicking the ball into touch on the Sutton right. Sutton won good ball from the lineout and drove towards the try line but when the driving maul was stopped short of the try line the ball was launched into midfield and fly half Ben Morgan spotted a gap in the Moseley midfield defence to ghost through at pace for a fine try to the left of the posts. Ben Morgan converted his own try to claw back to 36-7 with just 5 minutes of the second half played.


Unfortunately Sutton's spirited fight back faltered when they received a yellow card for what was deemed to be a deliberate knock-on following the restart and just minutes later Moseley Oak took advantage of the extra man to score a try wide out on the Sutton right wing when fullback Ashley Giles crossed and Alex Crisp added the conversion to extend the lead to 43-7 with 30 minutes to play.


Again Sutton stepped up their game and applied sustained pressure on the Moseley try line with good attacking play but they struggled to find a way past the Moseley defence until 30 minutes into the game when Sutton scrum half Tom Harris made a darting break into the Moseley 22 and then quick hands passed the ball from left to right into the hands of winger Miles Gregory, who flew down the wing into the right corner and then ran round to ground the ball close to the posts.


Ben Morgan added the extra points to close to 43-14 with 10 minutes to play and with time running out the spirited Sutton side continued to strive to gain something from the game, again applying sustained pressure to drive play deep into the Moseley 22. Keeping possession, with play moving left to right across the edge of the Moseley 22 winger Miles Gregory came off his right wing moving from right to left on the perfect angle to slice through the middle of the Moseley defence and score a superb try to the left of the posts. With just a minute left to play rather than wait for the kicking tee Ben Morgan converted the try with a drop goal to close to 43-21 but with Sutton on the attack chasing a bonus point for a fourth try but time ran out on the valiant recovery and Sutton had to settle for a honourable 43-21 defeat and a morale boosting second half performance which salvaged some pride from the disappointing defeat.


The game marked a first start of the season for fullback Laurie Harries, who came into the team at short notice after the late withdrawal of the established Tom Benjamin and the young 17 year old replacement fullback played well under a barrage of high balls and high speed follow ups during a testing first half.


This weekend Sutton welcome league leaders Newport RFC to the RSG, Walmley Road to test Sutton's home record this season but with Newport the only unbeaten team in a very close league Sutton can indeed protect their unbeaten home record even against the league leaders.


All support welcome on the touchline and in the bar for what should be a highly entertaining contest. KO 3pm.


Other team results:


The victorious Sutton Development side still flying the victory flag for Sutton Coldfield RFC:


With the Sutton 1st XV playing on Friday evening the Sutton development side took centre stage at the RSG, Walmley Road last Saturday as they took on local rivals Lichfield in the 2nd Team League and the young Sutton side continued their excellent form with a hard fought and well deserved 23-19 victory.


The score sheet recorded a brace of tries for winger Luke Fleming plus a fine try for Jack Wells and a penalty for Ollie Green plus a conversion and a well struck final penalty by Danny Bancroft completed the scoring for Sutton


Trailing 12-3 after conceding two tries and a conversion in the opening exchanges with just a penalty by fly half Ollie Green to show for their efforts Sutton stepped up their game in the second quarter and were rewarded with a try to close to 12-8 but Lichfield bounced back with a try and conversion to restore their lead to 19-8 going into the second half of the game...and it was in this final period that the young Sutton side led by veteran prop Dave Smith, showed their true mettle as they scored a well worked try to draw back to 19-13 and then another converted try gave Sutton a slender 1 point lead at 20-19 before fullback Danny Bancroft landed a final penalty for an excellent 23-19 victory and once again the Development side under the guidance of head coach Joe Gavin kept the Sutton flag flying high.


Sutton 3rd XV:


Unfortunately the Sutton 3rd XV were due to play Moseley Oak 2nd XV at Walmley Road last Saturday but late Friday evening after the 1st XV fixture the Moseley club registered they were short of players and although Sutton offered to make up the shortfall in the interests of having a game Moseley Oak declined and the frustrated Sutton team were left with an unwelcome free Saturday.



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