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Sutton Coldfield 12 - 57 Scunthorpe

National League 3 Midlands

Last Updated: Mar 22, 2016 06:39pm
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By David Daniels
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The good ship Sutton is seriously holed below the water line and is leaking tries as it sails towards relegation after four seasons in the National Leagues. To their great credit, after promotion in 2012 Sutton took the runners up, play-off place in their first two seasons in the National Leagues, in 2012/13 and 2013/14 respectively but unfortunately after losing key players to retirement etc. at the end of the 2013/14 season, the new look Sutton side have not been able to sustain this level of achievement in the subsequent seasons and now face relegation back to Level 6, giving the promising young side a chance to regroup and bounce back. 
In spite of the now inevitable outcome at the end of a difficult season, the beleaguered Sutton team is showing great spirit and enterprise as they battle the odds against high quality and experienced opposition, capable of severely punishing any lapse or simple mistake made by a mainly young and inexperienced Sutton side, who show great promise but are clearly not yet equipped for the intensity and challenges of National 3 rugby! 
By gaining experience and confidence in a lower league there is no doubt that this squad of young home grown talented players, under the guidance of the newly established coaching regime led by Ben Toft and Joe Gavin but also supported by the experienced Matt Nevitt, who masterminded the Sutton golden era, will bounce back and return to the glory days, which brought such success to the Sutton club in recent season.      
Turning to the game last weekend, once again Sutton's problems started before kick off when 19 year old Warwickshire scrum half Ollie Green twisted his ankle badly during the warm-up and had to withdraw from the team. Luckily Mike Burns (21 years) was warming up for the Sutton 3rd XV on the adjacent pitch and he was quickly drafted into the 1st team at fullback with the versatile Ollie Chitnis (19 years) moving into the vacant scrum half spot. Both players had outstanding games in their respective positions but sadly it was in a losing cause against a fired up Scunthorpe, who proved worthy of their second place in the league table by outscoring Sutton 9 tries to 2 in an entertaining contest, which was not as one sided as the 57-12 score line suggests as Sutton competed well but again failed to take the chances they created against a very efficient and well organised top of the table team, who are in a two horse race for promotion sitting just behind league leaders Hinckley. 
Scunthorpe kicked off under an overcast sky but otherwise the playing conditions were perfect with no breeze or sunshine to distract the players and Sutton opened up with good positive rugby holding their own in the opening exchanges against a powerful pack but it was the visitors who opened the scoring after 5 minutes of play when a decisive break by Scunthorpe open side flanker James Dyson from a scrum on the Sutton 10 metre line took play deep into the Sutton 22 to set up a try for no8 Kieran Bournes. The lively 8 was in close support to frustrate a brilliant try saving tackle by Mike Burns, which brought the first runner to ground short of the try line but nothing was going to stop the big no8 as he picked up the released ball and dived over for the opening score wide out to the left of the posts. 
The conversion was missed but Sutton found themselves trailing 0-5 after just 5 minutes of play. This was stretched to 12-0 after 10 minutes when winger Colin Chapman went over for the first of his three tries on the day and fullback Steve Johnson added the conversion to punish Sutton for a series of missed tackles allowing the Scunthorpe backs to score from long range. Although Sutton continued to build attacking plays, mistakes in the Scunthorpe half all too often surrendered the ball and midway through the first half Scunthorpe kicked a penalty down the right touchline to set-up an attacking lineout deep in the Sutton 22. The visitors gathered the ball in cleanly at the lineout and drove for the line. Although Sutton stopped the initial drive flanker James Dyson broke away to score in the right corner, matching the clubs try scoring record with his 21st try of the season. 
The difficult conversion was missed and so the score stayed at 17-0 but Scunthorpe went on to set up a second try for left wing Colin Chapman, who raced 50 metres down the left wing breaking half tackles to score under the posts and secure a bonus point for a fourth try. Steve Johnson added the easy conversion to extend the lead to 24-0 with 10 minutes to play to the break. 
Unfortunately just after the restart with Sutton pinned in their own 22 they suffered a yellow card for killing the ball in front of the try line and the visitors immediately took advantage of the extra man to score on the overlap as fly half Tom Foster supported on the outside and crossed for the try, which was converted by Steve Johnson to stretch the lead to 31-0. The visitors continued to pressure Sutton and on the stroke of halftime sub Dave Garbutt on at no8, crashed over following successive scrums on the Sutton try line and with Steve Johnson adding his fourth conversion Scunthorpe took a 38-0 lead into the break. 
Sutton kicked off in the second half with a daunting task ahead of them but they made a good start putting Scunthorpe under sustained pressure in their own half and a superb break by Ollie Chitnis took play up to the visitors try line. Unfortunately the newly installed scrum half was unable to release the ball to his supporting players and the chance was lost but Sutton were most certainly on the front foot in the opening period and their efforts were rewarded, first with a yellow card for the Scunthorpe hooker, who infringed illegally whilst under pressure and then from a 5 metre attacking scrum Sutton won the ball and drove play up the blind side for Ollie Chitnis to force his way over in the right corner to put Sutton on the scoreboard at 5-38 with 15 minutes of the second half played.  
Unfortunately the conversion attempt drifted wide and just minutes later Sutton's threatened recovery was crushed as Scunthorpe responded by taking the ball on from a lineout on their right wing in the Sutton 22 and back row Jake Barron burst through a gap in the Sutton defence to score. Steve Johnson added the conversion to cancel the Sutton score and add two more points at 45-5 with 22 minutes to play. 
To add to Sutton's frustrations, midway through the first half a leg injury to prop Sean Harrison meant the recently restored erstwhile prop had to leave the field to be replaced from the bench by front row replacement Stuart Collard but around this point in the match Stuart Collard hyperextended his arm and was unable to continue, leaving the field in some discomfort. Unfortunately, Sutton had no more front row replacements so the game had to be completed with uncontested scrums and in accordance with the RFU laws and regulations, Sutton were reduced to 14 players for the final 20 minute period. 
Initially 14 man Sutton responded well scoring a try on the right wing after a trademark, powerful run to the line by outside centre Tom McNamee, converted from the touchline by fellow centre Alex White to close to 12-45 on 65 minutes but although reduced to 14 men themselves due to a second yellow card the promotion chasing visitors kept up the pressure and a space opened up for centre Oli Wood who had a clean run to the line for a try, which was converted by Steve Johnson to give the visitprs an unassailable 52-12 lead with 12 minutes to play.  
With time running out Scunthorpe launched another attack and when an astute kick ahead landed deep in the Sutton 22 the ball was gathered in by a lone Sutton defender but the lone defender was isolated and stripped of the ball giving Scunthorpe a clear run to the line, resulting in a hat-trick try for winger Colin Chapman and a final score line of 57-12 to complete a good days work for the North Lincolnshire team and boost their promotion hopes, whilst confirming Sutton's sorry season but not without giviong hope for next season. 
This weekend Sutton 1st XV take an Easter break and then return to league action the following weekend 2nd April when the RSG welcomes Syston RFC to Walmley Road for the first of the last three league games of the season. KO 3 pm.
 
Sutton other team results:  
Unfortunately the Sutton Development side missed out on a game last weekend when their scheduled opponents Walsall 2nd XV cried off the game. However, the trusty Sutton 3rd XV under the leadership of skipper Steve Marshall kept a smile on the face of the Sutton supporters with an excellent 30-17 victory at home against a fancied Malvern RFC 2nd XV.   

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