Sutton 1st XV Save Their Best Till Last

Sutton Coldfield 24 - 5 Hereford

Last Updated: Dec 19, 2016 09:44pm
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By David Daniels
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Sutton Coldfield 24 pts v Hereford RFC 5 pts

Midlands 1 West


Last weekend the old sparkle returned to the Sutton side to secure a convincing 24-5 bonus point victory over a strong and resurgent Hereford, who sat in 7th place in the RFU league table at the start of play but the visitors were unable to contain a vibrant Sutton, who in their last league game of 2016 outscored their opponents 4 tries to 1 to end a difficult year on a high note putting a pre-Christmas smile on the face of the loyal Sutton supporters and recent performances bode well for the second half of the season. 

The game was played in dry firm conditions with a slight chill in the air and evidence of faint sunshine to lift the spirits, making the day perfect for a game of running rugby. Sutton kicked off facing into the fading sun and immediately followed up into the Hereford half but the ball was won back by the visitors, who mounted an initial period of pressure in the Sutton 22 determined to repeat the victory they achieved in the first fixture in the second game of the season. 

However, Sutton defended well and eventually cleared their lines carrying the attack into Hereford territory with close passing movements but having mounted a promising attack taking play deep into the Hereford 22 Sutton conceded a penalty and lost ground ...but they redeemed themselves by stealing the ball at the ensuing lineout and the home side were on their way again leading to the opening try after 9 minutes of play. 

With the game ebbing and flowing during the opening exchanges and the Sutton scrum and lineout play going well against strong opposition, the decisive break came from Sutton scrum half Tom Harris, who received the ball from another well executed lineout and spotting a gap the wily scrum half raced down the Sutton right wing drifting in field until he was stopped short of the try line in front of the posts. Sutton were quick to the breakdown and the ball was recycled to the right with outside centre Luke Stewart slipping the ball to winger Miles Gregory, who beat the remaining defenders to score an excellent try in the right corner. 

Unfortunately, the difficult conversion drifted across the face of the posts but encouragingly Sutton held a 5-0 lead after 9 minutes of play and Sutton continued to develop their play in the following period, with the front row of Sean Harrison (1), hooker Jeff Large (2) and Chris Hanley (3) starting to dominate the scrums supported by the second row of George Ord and Ben Bottomley and with the lineout working well Sutton enjoyed good possession from the set plays and they used the possession well but were unable to add to their opening score until mid way through the first half when winger Miles Gregory plucked a stray pass out of the air on the halfway line and raced in over 50 metres to score a spectacular try under the posts. 

Alex White added the conversion to extend Sutton's lead to 12-0 after 20 minutes of play and Sutton continued to pile pressure on the visitors try line, with the halfback pairing of Ben Morgan, reinstated at fly half alongside scrumhalf Tom Harris both providing effective distribution of the ball to the centre pairing of Tom McNamee and Luke Stewart. The sustained Sutton pressure in the Hereford 22 brought successive lineouts, penalties and scrums from Hereford infringements, until the referee's patience ran out and the Hereford no7 was yellow carded on 37 minutes for interfering with the ball on the ground. 

Sutton took advantage of the extra man and hooker Jeff Large was driven over the try line after the initial drive was heldup and the hooker and his close support peeled off the stalled scrum to score an excellent try to the left of the posts. Again Alex White added the conversion to stretch the Sutton lead to 19-0 at the break. 

With high believe and growing confidence Sutton made a positive start to the second half and after 5 minutes of positive play and possession Sutton drove play towards the Hereford try line ... then Sutton's dominant pack drove over the line with prop Sean Harrison scoring a deserved try after a good day at the office, securing a try scoring bonus point for a fourth try. 

Unfortunately the difficult conversion drifted wide but Sutton held a convincing 24-0 lead going into the final 35 minutes of the game with Sutton in the ascendency however, to their credit Hereford showed their true pedigree and strength of character to fight back and turn the pressure back onto Sutton in the closing period, with the visitors seeking to salvage something after their journey up the M5. 

Sutton defended well during the desperate last ditch onslaught and they retained their discipline and control to hold their opponents at bay during a prolonged period of play in which the home side showed a true determination not to concede their deserved and hard fought for lead. 

During this critical closing period Sutton were bolstered by the introduction of newly returned powerhouse Dean Harper into the second row and prop Zac Loffman playing in only his second game for the club, to re-energise the pack and winger Joe Gregory stepped into the fray to allow centre Tom McNamee to rest his aching battering ram body ahead of the Christmas break. 

In the final event Hereford did gain the satisfaction of a consolation try when hooker Luke Fisher breached the Sutton defences to drive over for a try in the corner following a lineout on the right wing. The conversion was missed and the score closed to 24-5 with 15 minutes left to play but Sutton wound down the clock and along with their loyal supporters, the Sutton side, coaches and management were able to celebrate an excellent victory, which could be the turning point of a very mixed season. 

After the elation of the celebrated victory in the last game of 2016 Sutton now take a break from league rugby to rest their weary minds and bodies returning to Midlands 1 league action on 7th Jan 2017 for a key game away to fellow strugglers Kenilworth RFC, with Sutton seeking to build on their recent form and to start 2017 on a winning note with back to back wins. 

In the meantime the team, coaches, support staff and management wish all the Sutton supporters a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR and a SUCCESSFUL & PROSPEROUS 2017. 

Enjoy the break. We look forward to seeing you all in the New Year for what should be an exciting and rewarding second half of the season.


Sutton other team results: 


Unusually last week Sutton 1st and 2nd XV were playing on adjacent pitches but unfortunately whilst the Sutton 1st XV enjoyed a notable victory the Sutton Development Side suffered a rare defeat against a strong Hereford 2nd XV. Meanwhile, in an early ko on the new International pitch at the RSG the Sutton Vets side led by skipper Peter Benson, shared an honourable 35-35 draw after an excellent game of rugby enjoyed by both sides and their appreciative spectators. All the Sutton points came from 7 'magnificent' tries with no conversions landed and a lot of running to test the lung power of the iconic veterans. 

On Sunday 18th Dec at the RSG, the all conquering Sutton Colts overwhelmed an understrength Worcester Colts side 52-0, with Sutton scoring a magnificent 9 tries without reply. 

On Wednesday 28th Dec 2016 the Sutton Colts take on an Academicals side in the traditional SCRFC Christmas fixture between the current Colts team and the Sutton students, who are home for Christmas and want to run off some of their Christmas excesses in the name of sport. 

The game is planned to kick off at 2pm and should be a great afternoon of festival style, running rugby and the perfect break for players and supporters alike between the festivities of Christmas and New Year. All supporters will receive a warm welcome in the clubhouse before and after the game. Ho Ho Ho!




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