Sutton's Promotion Hopes Dashed

Stockport RFC 52 pts v Sutton Coldfield 22 pts

Last Updated: Apr 28, 2014 05:55pm
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By David Daniels
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National League 3 Play Off for promotion to National League 2

A season full of highs and lows came to a disappointing end last weekend, when Sutton failed in their quest for promotion to National League 2 level 4, a level they have never achieved in their long history having lost in the equivalent playoff last season and it was not to be again this season as they suffered a 52-22 defeat at Stockport RFC. 

Stockport now bounce back into the level 4 league having been relegated only the previous season and their experience showed as they overwhelmed the relatively inexperienced Sutton side in the first and third quarters of an entertaining contest.
Although having won all their home games this season, Sutton's away form has been suspect and unfortunately on a day when they needed to make a good start Sutton found themselves 15-0 down after just 8 minutes and 21-0 down after 27 minutes but with halftime approaching the visitors rallied and an excellent try by centre Andy Tovey, which was matched by a superb touchline conversion by fellow centre Alex White 5 minutes before the break brought Sutton into the game at 21-7. Encouraged by the score Sutton continued to trouble the renowned Stockport defence and another break through came on the stroke of halftime when Sutton's skipper Dave Edwards picked up a low pass off his toes and raced over in the left corner to reduce the deficit to 21-12 at the break.
On a high Sutton continued their fight back after the break and 2 minutes into the second period they closed to within 6 points with a penalty in mid field from Alex White to close to 21-15... but shortly after the restart misfortune befell Sutton when a scramble on the Sutton 22 allowed centre Jamie Anthony to gather the ball and struggle over the line for a try in the left corner to extend Stockport's lead to 26-15 against  the run of play and then 10 minutes later misfortune struck again when flyhalf Josh Longmore fumbled the ball in front of the Sutton posts but was allowed to continue to score a try unopposed under the posts, which he converted himself to drive another nail in the Sutton coffin at 33-15 with 23 minutes left to play.
Sutton tried to respond but during this period of play all the initiative had fallen to the home side and encouraged by the large home crowd they ran in 3 more tries 2 of which were converted for a 52-15 lead going into the final 9 minutes. But true to their fighting spirit Sutton continued to press their illustrious hosts and they gained a final consolation try, which was scored and converted by centre Alex White for a final score line of 52-22 putting Sutton's dreams of National 2 rugby on hold for another year.
Stockport are to be congratulated on the manner of their victory and their return to National League 2. 
All at Sutton thank them for their generous hospitality before and after the game and wish them well in their endeavours next season.
Thanks also go to the loyal 'Green Army' of Sutton supporters, who have provided great support for the team through a difficult season in which, considering their long injury list, the Sutton side did well to reach the playoff as runners up in a challenging league. 



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