Sat 28 Jan 2017

Bedford Athletic RFC
Lichfield RUFC Ltd

     Unavailability and injuries took their toll again as there were several changes to the match day squad which beat Syston RFC at Cooke Fields the week before. In the pack, following his red card the previous week, Ollie Savage was replaced by debutant Suvwe Obano in the front row whilst Jack Hawley stepped up from last weeks bench to replace Luke Taplin who had to settle for a place on the bench alongside Callum Hagyard again and the returning Jordan Pincombe. In the backs, the injured Tom Adams was replaced in the centre by another debutant, Bamidele Fadahunsi, whilst Josh Massey moved from the wing to replace the injured Greg Massey at full-back meaning Callum Aspley stepped up from last weeks bench to fill in on the wing.

     In another massive game for the Myrtle Greens in which they targeted 5 points from, they duly delivered and took home a thoroughly deserved bonus-point win away from Bedford which saw them climb out the relegation places and up to 10th.

     Lichfield looked sharp from the off and were duly rewarded with their first try of the day. From a line-out, a powerful half break from Harvey Wootton saw him offload to centre Bamidele Fadahunsi who drew in the full-back before passing inside to the supporting Jonny Evans who managed to scramble his way over underneath the posts. Josh Massey added the simplest of extras to give Lichfield a 7-0 lead after only 2 minutes.

     However, after several promising attacks which Lichfield couldn’t quite finish off, they were made to pay soon after. Bedford were able to break through Lichfield’s defensive line but good covering defence saw the Bedford player hauled down inches from the line. Lichfield were not able to recover fast enough and this left Bedford fly-half, James Mortimer, to touch down. He converted his own try which tied the scores up at 7-7 after 10 minutes.

     A bit over eager to stamp their mark on the game, Bedford gave away a quick succession of penalties which left Lichfield with an attacking line-out just 5 metres from Bedford’s line. A superb training ground line-out executed by the forwards left Callum Turner in acres of space to run through, step round the full-back’s attempted tackle and touch down near to the posts. Josh Massey converted to give Lichfield a 14-7 lead after 20 minutes.

     After this score, Bedford then had a good 15-minute spell which was all spent in the Lichfield half. Fly-half, James Mortimer, missed a penalty kick at goal to narrow Lichfield’s lead but soon after it was left to Bedford prop, John Clarke, to barge his way over from close range. With the conversion missed it had cut Lichfield’s lead to 14-12 but Lichfield quickly hit back.

     Minutes later, a handling error by Bedford saw Lichfield with an attacking scrum just outside Bedford’s 22. A crisp blindside move saw Richard Burton pick up from the base of the scrum before feeding Jonny Evans who draw in the full-back before passing inside to the supporting Josh Massey who strolled over for Lichfield’s third try. He converted his own try to increase Lichfield’s to 21-12 and this how the score stayed until half-time.

     After surviving a good Bedford breakout which saw them spill possession just metres from the Lichfield line, it was Lichfield to score first in the second half as they mounted a great counter attack to take themselves deep into the Bedford 22 before they were penalised. It left Josh Massey to kick the penalty at goal to stretch Lichfield’s lead out to 24-12 after 50 minutes.

     The next 15 minutes saw a very open game of attacking rugby from both sides but neither side was able to finish off any attack until Bedford’s winger, Stephen Woodhead, squeezed over right in the corner following a flowing move from Bedford. The conversion was missed but Bedford were only 7 points behind at 24-17 with 15 minutes to go.

     Lichfield didn’t let this affect them, and they were soon back on the attack inside the Bedford half. After several phases of stretching the Bedford defence left and right the ball was passed to Jack Hawley on the 40-metre line. He eased through several tackles before showing a burst of pace and stepping round the full-back to score Lichfield’s fourth and bonus-point try. With Josh Massey off injured at this point, it was left to Luke Massey this time to step and add the simple extras to increase Lichfield’s lead to 31-17 with just 10 minutes left.

     Instead of comfortably seeing out the rest of the game, Lichfield once again did it the hard way and were made to work for their deserved victory. First, a line break by Bedford’s winger saw him offload to Bedford’s supporting flanker, Jake Foster, who under a great deal of pressure somehow managed to touch down for Bedford’s fourth and bonus-point try. With the conversion hitting the post, Lichfield lead 31-22 with now 5 minutes left on the clock.

     In this 5 minutes, there was still time for Bedford to intercept the ball in midfield and reach Lichfield’s 22. With Lichfield still organising their defence the Bedford fly-half saw space behind and kicked through for Bedford’s winger, Stephen Woodhead, to touch down for his second try of the day and Bedford’s fifth of the match. Again, the conversion was missed which took the score to 31-27 and this how the score stayed until the referee blew for full-time minutes later.

     The final score made the game seem much tighter than it actually was but nevertheless Lichfield picked up the deserved 5 points they travelled for to see them climb out the relegation places. With a rest week in the league calendar now, the Myrtle Greens aren’t back in action until Saturday 11th February when they play Birmingham & Solihull at Cooke Fields (kick-off 2.15pm).