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Sutton fail to sparkle

Hinckley 1st XV 43 - Sutton Coldfield 27

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2013 09:52pm
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By David Daniels
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National League 3 Midlands

An out of sorts Sutton failed to find any fluency in a disjointed performance against a strong Hinckley side, who took full advantage of Sutton's failings to outscore their visitors by 5 tries to 4 in a 43-27 victory. The deserved victory propelled Hinckley to second place in the league with Sutton only dropping from top to third thanks to the all important bonus point for a 4th try, which keeps them in contention with the league leaders in a tight contest at the top of the table in which only the top two teams remain unbeaten.

Sutton's disappointing defeat is only their 5th loss in 57 league games since they lost the M1W play-off to Mansfield on 30th April 2011. After gaining outright promotion to National League 3 the following season in 2012 Sutton have prospered and they reached the play-off for National League 2 last season losing to Harrogate, so this season sees Sutton re-launching their NL3 campaign and on a difficult day they succumbed to a strong Hinckley side who went one better than the 20-20 draw the teams played out at the end of last season. 

Sutton started strongly and they made the early running as they received the kick off, charging back into the Hinckley half to set up a series of impressive drives with Simon Millard at blindside flanker to the fore. The Sutton pressure put Hinckley on the back foot, winning the visitors a penalty for off side and they established a deserved 3-0 lead after only 4 minutes with centre Alex White converting the chance but following the restart miss-fortune and poor options inflicted the Sutton game. Missed touches and weak tackling added to Sutton's problems and Hinckley stormed back to level the scores at 3 all after 8 minutes, with a first penalty for scrum half Joe Glover, who kicked a total of 4 penalties and 3 conversions in an impressive match winning display.

Encouraged by the score Hinckley stepped up their game and the initiative switched from Sutton to the home side, who took full advantage of Sutton errors to create a try for powerful winger Devon Constant extending the home lead to 8-3 after 12 minutes. The opening try came from a Hinckley counter attack as Sutton came under pressure and made to clear their lines with a long punt but unfortunately Sutton failed to find touch on the Hinckley right wing. Gathering the ball cleanly on the halfway line Hinckley raced into the Sutton half and spun the ball from right to left into the hands of winger Devon Constant who powered over for an impressive score in the left corner. 

Hinckley continued to dominate the creative play as the Sutton game was plagued with handling errors and penalties which handed the initiative to their opponents who had the talent and ability to take full advantage and they punished Sutton, scoring 2 more tries, first by hooker Sam Massarella, following a 5 metre lineout and then right wing Kris McFederies scored close to right hand corner flag and with Joe Glover converting the second of those tries Hinckley raced into a 20-3 lead after 25 minutes of play.

32 minutes into the game Sutton made a brief rally showing something of their true ability when fly half Josh Rolls found a gap in the Hinckley back line to finish a fine period of attacking play but typical of Sutton's day the well struck conversion hit the upright and rebounded back into play restricting the recovery to 20-8, however the Sutton resurgence was countered by another Joe Glover penalty which increased the Sutton deficit to 23-8 at the break. 

However, rejuvenated by the break Sutton went on the attack and produced a period of consistency, retaking the initiative with some good rugby which led to 2 impressive tries for right wing Nathan Burchell plus an excellent touchline conversion by Alex White to close the score to 23-20 after 10 minutes of the second half at which point the game hung in the balance but unfortunately Sutton were unable to sustain the recovery and the initiative swung back to the home side.

The first of the 2 Sutton tries was made by fullback Tom Lucas who chased a kick ahead which landed deep in the Hinckley in goal area and although Sutton were denied the touch down they did reclaim the 22 drop out and set up an attack on the Sutton right sending ace finisher Nathan Burchell into the corner for the score. This was followed quickly by a repeat performance and with Alex White adding the difficult conversion Sutton closed to 23-20, which gave Sutton and their travelling support renewed hope.

Unfortunately, typical of their day Sutton failed to maintain their new momentum and Hinckley rediscovered their form to score a try by 2nd row Tom Sanderson converted by Joe Glover followed by 2 long range successive 40 metre penalties by the impressive Joe Glover before Devon Constant added his second try for the unerring Joe Glover to add the conversion and take the game away from Sutton at 43-20 with 10 minutes left to play.

Although beaten, battling Sutton pressed on seeking the consolation of a bonus point for a 4th try and this was achieved when they drove play up their left wing winning a penalty which was kicked accurately into the corner and from the ensuing lineout Sutton re-gathered the ball driving play forward. As the drive for the line stalled the ball was spun into mid-field and replacement fly half Josh Groom marked his welcome return to first team action after injury with a well taken try under the posts and with Alex White adding the conversion Sutton finished the game with an all important bonus point to limit the damage caused by a rare defeat.

After a poor performance by their own high standards, this weekend Sutton have a chance to redeem themselves as they welcome Longton to the RSG, Walmley Road for their fourth league game of the new season. KO 3 pm.

 

Sutton's other team results: 

Sutton 2nd string playing as a development team in the North Mids Reserve Team league achieved an impressive 24-0 win over a fancied Nuneaton side and Sutton 3rd XV also did well against formidable opposition when they returned from Luctonian's with a solid 15-15 draw.

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