Newport 12 v 31 Sutton Coldfield

National League 3 Midlands

Last Updated: Oct 6, 2015 07:42pm
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By David Daniels
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Last weekend Sutton made a dramatic return to winning ways with a convincing 31-12 victory over Newport RFC, who started the day in 7th place but they had no answer to a Sutton side, which on a special evening exploded into action showing their true potential with strong forward play and outstanding back play.
With the World Cup games dominating the events on Saturday 3rd Oct, the scheduled day for the game, by mutual consent it was agreed to play this all important league fixture on the previous Friday evening. Therefore the game was played under floodlights at Market Drayton, which offered good quality floodlights and an excellent playing surface, although the changing facilities were rather cramped but the hospitality of the two host clubs was excellent. 
The floodlights added drama and a special atmosphere to the event and Sutton rose to the occasion magnificently setting up good passages of play straight from the start through their established players but the stars of the night were undoubtedly Sutton's youngest players, Miles Gregory, 19 and Ollie Chitnis, 18 playing on the left and right wing respectively. Both showed great composure and finishing skills to score between them the three Sutton tries and announce the arrival of two new talents in the National leagues wearing the proud green of Sutton. The scoring was also ably assisted by fly half Alex White, who kicked 13 points with 2 conversions and 3 penalties plus centre Tom McNamee, who confidently kicked a 50 metre penalty, which just crept over the bar but was significant in extending the Sutton lead midway through the first half when Newport threatened a fight back. 
Both the young wingers are talented fly half's by instinct but they adapted brilliantly to their roles on the wing at National 3 level 5 showing maturity and levels of skills beyond their years. Both are home grown talents having graduated through the Sutton junior section and the Development squad and they triumphed under the bright lights with Miles scoring an excellent try on only his second appearance for the 1st XV and Ollie Chitnis matching him with great skill to claim a brace of tries on his debut, all of which bodes well for the future.
The game kicked off at 8 pm and within 2 minutes Ollie Chitnis showed his skills with a well taken try as the Sutton pack followed up their own kick-off and drove play deep into the Newport 22 before recycling the ball and sending the right wing into the corner.
Unfortunately, the difficult conversion drifted wide but Sutton were up and running with a 5-0 lead but within 5 minutes the hosts struck back with a penalty by fullback Liam Holder after Sutton were penalised receiving a yellow card for unlawful use of the boot at a ruck in their 22, so after 7 minutes the score stood at 3-5 in Sutton's favour.
The next period of play saw Sutton down to 14 men but gathering their game together with the scrums and lineout going well and the backline starting to flow with strong attacking play, however Newport also showed their strengths and no further score came until Newport infringed under sustained pressure and Alex White kicked a 35 metre penalty to extend Sutton's lead to 8-3 with 20 minutes played.
But Newport stayed in the game and again closed to within 2 points with another Liam Holder penalty when Sutton were penalised for not releasing after a tackle in their 22 just 4 minutes after their previous score but within a minute of the restart Sutton were awarded a penalty on the halfway line in midfield. Although the kick measured a daunting 50 metres, which was on the limit of Alex White's distance, up stepped centre Tom McNamee normally more accustomed to crashing through the opposition but this time he lifted the ball high over his opponents to clear the crossbar and restore Sutton's lead at 11-6 with 15 minutes to play to the break... however within 5 minutes Newport kept Sutton in reach with a third penalty for fullback Holder to close to within 2 points again.
Sutton responded in kind and In the 10 minutes before the break they stepped up their game to stretch ahead with a penalty by fly half Alex White for 14-9 before Miles Gregory raced in for his first National League 3 try in the left corner, which was converted from the left touchline with an inch perfect kick by the fly half to end the first half with Sutton leading by the healthy margin of 21-9.
The second half started well for Newport, who won a penalty as Sutton failed to gather a kick ahead cleanly and were caught off side, in front of the player who miss-fielded the ball. Liam Holder duly added the 3 points to close to 21-12 just 2 minutes after the break but once again Sutton bounced back strongly with a second try for winger Ollie Chitnis, who beat two defenders in the Newport 22 as he raced into the right corner for an outstanding score. The try was set up by strong Sutton attacking play, which advanced in midfield and then swung right through the backs setting up the scoring opportunity for the right wing, who finished with great skill and confidence. Fly half Alex White added the extra points with an outstanding touchline conversion from the right wing to extend the Sutton lead to 28-12 with just 5 minutes of the second half played.
10 minutes into the second half Alex White added his third penalty to stretch the Sutton lead to 31-12 and complete the scoring in a game in which he excelled at fly half having transferred from his normal position at  inside centre to the key role of playmaker in this must win game and he controlled the game well with good distribution to his backs, interspaced with well placed kicks from hand to keep Sutton moving forward.
The final 30 minutes of the game saw a spirited revival by Newport but a revitalised Sutton fought back and although the game ebbed and flowed neither side added to the scoreboard. Sutton stayed strong to secure a fine victory... and  hopefully history is about to repeat itself, when in 1993 a much changed Sutton side started the season and lost all their opening games before a win at Newport saw the start of a winning sequence which carried through to the end of the season and went on to win promotion in 94-95 and then in 1996 they won the Warwickshire Cup for the first time in their history!!
This win, along with other results has lifted Sutton back to 12th in a league of 14 teams and although they are still in the relegation zone after just 5 games the signs are good for the bounce back to continue over the coming season.
After a game with many pluses Sutton will carry their new found form into their next game when they welcome Nuneaton RFC to the RSG, Walmley Rd this weekend, Sat 10th Oct 2015. KO 3pm - come along and cheer on the new look Sutton side, who have now found their best form and are looking good to climb back up the league table.      


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