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Second Half Victory for Sutton Coldfield

Sutton Coldfield 24 v 15 Longton

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2014 10:02pm
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By David Daniels
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After a hesitant first half Sutton secured an encouraging second half victory to keep their season alive with a 24-15 win over close league rivals Longton.
In a hard fought, evenly matched contest, with victory key to the aspirations of both clubs, each team scored 3 tries but Sutton's fly half Alex White proved to be the match winner with his 3 conversions and a perfectly executed drop goal in the closing minutes producing the match winning margin of 9 points and a man of the match performance.
In a frustrating first half once again Sutton failed to take their chances and it was only the visitors who troubled the score keeper with 2 tries for a 10-0 lead going into the break. The first Longton try came after 5 minutes when 2nd row Peter Wilshaw peeled off a driving maul to score in the right corner and then on 30 minutes from turnover ball, flanker Joe Clowes made a break down the right wing to feed winger Siupeli Vaipulu, who raced into the right corner for Longton's second try.
Although the Sutton pack dominated in the scrum's and performed well in the lineout, gaining good possession, in the first 40 minutes Sutton's open play lacked fluency and consistency, with simple handling errors and infringements across the piece causing turnovers and lost possession but the second half saw a transformation and the Sutton open play came good, with all the second half points scored by the backs.
The Sutton recovery started 5 minutes after the restart when inside centre Tom McNamee showed his fine form with another weaving run to the try line beating defenders in the 22 to score to the left of the posts and Alex White added the conversion to close the score line to 7-10. However, in spite of increased positivity by Sutton their recovery stalled briefly mid-way through the second period when Longton scrum half Lee Brogen scored from turnover ball just 10 metres from the Sutton try line to leave Sutton trailing 15-7 with 20 minutes to play! But Sutton were undaunted and their belief and new found positivity brought just reward when a trademark break by skipper Fraser Tait in midfield was supported by winger Nathan Burchell and a perfect pass sent the flying winger racing in from 25 metres for a try under the posts. Alex White slotted the simple conversion to bring Sutton to within 1 point with 12 minutes to play setting up a tense finale... and it was Sutton who had the nerve and discipline to step up their game and apply sustained pressure, which led to a dropped ball on the Longton 10 metre line as the visitors tried to run the ball out of defence. Sutton centre Jonny Raistrick was quick to react as he kicked the ball on and raced into the Longton 22 in hot pursuit of the bouncing ball. With desperate defenders closing in and the ball bouncing awkwardly the centre skilfully prodded the ball forward and pounced over the try line to give Sutton a 19-15 lead, which was extended to 21-15 by Alex White with 8 minutes left to play.
Although Longton fought back Sutton stood strong and a perfectly executed drop goal by Alex White in the Longton 22 gave Sutton a 9 point cushion going into final 5 minutes and the home side played out the final minutes without mishap to record an excellent and important victory to mark the mid point of a mixed season for the Sutton sde.
Encouraged by their home victory last weekend, this weekend Sutton welcome 2nd place Nuneaton to the RSG, Walmley Road to start the return leg of fixtures and Sutton will be seeking to reverse the loss they suffered in the away fixture at Nuneaton in what should be an entertaining contest before the Christmas break. KO 2.15 pm 

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