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The Pain Continues for SCRFC

Nuneaton 1st XV 44 - 12 Sutton Coldfield 1st XV

Last Updated: Feb 1, 2016 08:39pm
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By David Daniels
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National League 3 Midlands 
 
The outcome of Sutton's latest escapade in National League 3 appeared be decided by the toss of the coin at the start of the game and any hopes Sutton had of springing a surprise were blown away by the very strong wind blowing down the pitch. 
Nuneaton won the toss and opted to play with the gale force wind in their favour, as if home advantage was not enough and using the wind to maximum effect Nuneaton kept Sutton pinned in their own 22 for much of the first half, racking up 32 points without reply... however, when Sutton turned round with the wind to their backs they made an immediate impact with a converted try for 32-7 but overall the deficit proved to be too much and although Sutton fought hard to score another try late on they made too many basic mistakes, which gifted the energised home side 12 points to share the honours 12-12 in a more competitive second half concluding in a heavy 44-12 defeat for the young Sutton side, who without doubt have the skills and the ability but still lack the experience and rugby intelligence to compete with the quality of opposition they face week in and week out in National League 3. 
Sutton kicked off against the strong wind and the visitors made a solid start withstanding the early pressure then counterattacking through their adventurous backs taking play back into the Nun's 22 but unfortunately Sutton lost possession and Nuneaton put in a long clearance taking play back into the Sutton 22. Nuneaton gained possession from a lineout on their right wing in the Sutton 22 and then they drove for the Sutton try line. Defiantly the Sutton pack held up the drive but Nuneaton fed the ball in field and the backs broke through the Sutton midfield defence to feed fullback George Adams who crossed by the posts for a well worked try.  
Fly half Joe Wilson added the conversion to give the host team a 7-0 lead after 5 minutes of play and then the long serving playmaker gave a master class of game management and point scoring as he punished Sutton with well placed clearance kicks, which kept Sutton on the back foot throughout the game, he also kicked 2 penalties and 3 conversions plus the try he scored in the first half and then he added 2 more tries and a conversion to seal the game in the second half for a personal tally of 29 points. 
Under permanent bombardment whenever they handed over possession in the opposition half, during the first half the Sutton strategy was to run the ball out of defence, but knowing there would be no relieving kick, Nuneaton were under instructions to close down and smother the Sutton runners, which they did very effectively and the visitors found themselves trapped in their own 22 for much of a torrid first 40 minutes. 
Nuneaton extended their lead to 10-0 after 10 minutes of play when under pressure Sutton conceded a penalty in front of their posts and then midway through the first half Sutton conceded a second penalty in front of the posts for a scrum infringement and Joe Wilson converted both chances to further extend the lead to 13-0 but between the scores Sutton had competed well to prevent a massacre and they had created chances of their own but under the high energy attrition they failed to convert their chances into points with every mistake punished. 
With 15 minutes to play up to the break Nuneaton made a dash down the right wing and then fed the ball back inside for second row Matt Gibbs to stride over to the right of the posts for a fine try, which was converted by Joe Wilson, who then supported a break by left wing Lee Hersey after the winger picked up a loose ball, which had been lost forward from a Sutton hand in an attempted breakout and the fly half raced into the left corner and then landed a well judged touchline conversion to take Nuneaton into a 27-0 lead 5 minutes before the break. 
In the time remaining although a Nuneaton attack was held up when they knocked on in the Sutton 22, they profited by regaining possession in the subsequent play, which moved in field and scrum half Tom Smitham gathered the ball before darting over for the final score of a wind dominated first half. 
With a mountain to climb but with the wind behind them Sutton set about the daunting task with a real determination and their efforts were rewarded 5 minutes into the second period of play when prop Liam Hills took the ball on the charge to burst though the defenders on the line, showing what can be done when taking the ball on at pace to score an excellent try to the right of the posts and fly half Ben Morgan added the conversion to give Sutton the perfect start to the second half battle.
However just 2 minutes later, with the score standing at 32-7, unfortunately, Sutton failed to build on their newfound impetus as they gathered the ball from the restart but instead of clearing the ball deep into the opposition half they chose to pass the ball across their 22 and inevitably they dropped the ball, which was picked up by Nuneaton and fly half Joe Wilson raced in for an opportunist try, which he converted himself to cancel out the Sutton score and return to the 32 point deficit at 39-7.  
Sutton tried to learn from the setback but unfortunately in chasing the game the visitor's composure and control eluded them and the number of handling errors grew denying Sutton a further score and a knock on in front of their posts led to a scrum in a dangerous position. Nuneaton won the scrum and fed the ball to the irrepressible Joe Wilson, who raced into the right corner for a killer score stretching the lead to 44-7 with just 7 minutes to play. 
Sutton restarted the game and drove play deep into the Nuneaton 22 but the Nuns gathered the ball and attempted to break free from the Sutton pressure by racing up their right wing. Sutton covered the break and as the ball went loose Sutton's quick thinking Ben Morgan picked the ball up and raced down the touchline to outpace the pursuing Nuneaton players into the corner for a consolation try and a final score line of 44-12. 
Whilst suffering another defeat in this frustrating season after their many successful seasons in the recent past, Sutton can draw solace and comfort from the team they fielded last Saturday, with newly returned centre Jonny Raistrick in place for a second week running after a long absence this season due to injury but with fellow established centres Alex White and Tom McNamee unavailable Sutton turned to the future to fill the vacancies in the backline; with 21 year old Ben Morgan starting at fly half, re-establishing his partnership with scrum half Tom Harris (25) alongside 18 year old Ollie Chitnis at inside centre with Jonny Raistrick (28) at outside centre, 19 year old Miles Gregory on the left wing and 17 year old Mike Iwanowicz on the right wing plus the attacking presence of Nathan Burchell (29) at fullback. All the players especially the youngsters played well under difficult conditions and against a team riding high in the National 3 league, full of players who have had experience at National 2 level compared with a Sutton team full of good players with high levels of skill and fitness but still lacking the vital rugby experience to compete effectively against experienced teams at this level of the game. 
Sutton are on their travels again this weekend as they travel to Stoke-on-Trent to face Longton RFC in their rearranged league fixture, postponed from 16th Jan 2016 and preceding the match Sutton will be hoping to use this game in hand to draw closer to the teams above them in the relegation zone. KO 2.15.
 
Sutton other team results:
Having won through to the Warwickshire 2nd Team Cup Final for a fourth consecutive year and riding high in the 2nd Team league the Sutton development side were scheduled to continue their successful season with a home game against Cinderford last weekend. The Sutton 3rd XV under the captaincy of Steve Marshall flew the flag as they won a close battle 19-18 away to Bromsgrove RFC,  having survived a try and fortunately a missed conversion in the final minutes of the game. 
Offering highly enjoyable 'cradle to the grave' rugby for all ages Sutton fulfilled their mission statement last weekend with the Sutton Vets, under the leadership of Peter Benson and featuring many star players from the Sutton Golden years defeated a traditionally strong Nuneaton Vets side by 38 points to 17 and at the other end of the age spectrum Sutton's all conquering U17's side sealed the U17's league championship with an outstanding 19-7 victory over Moseley RFC on Sunday 31st Jan 2016; fittingly the game was played on the prestigious new pitch at Sutton's Roger Smolden Ground, Walmley Road on a special day for the Sutton club. 

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