Fri 31 Mar 2017 20:03

Sat 25 Mar 2017

Lichfield RUFC Ltd
Towcestrians RFC

     After another league break the Myrtle Greens were back in action at Cooke Fields against Towcestrians RFC. Despite having a week off to recover, injuries and unavailability affected the match day squad once again. Charlie Milner was back at 7, meaning Jack Hawley switched to 6, Richard Burton resumed his usual No. 8 roll and Suvwe Obano was pushed back up to prop in place of Callum Hagyard who took a spot on the bench alongside John Doubleday and Will Cotterhill. A re-shuffle in the back line saw Bamidele Fadahunsi switch from full-back to wing in place of Richard Fielding meaning Greg Massey could take back his usual full-back position which left Tom Adams to return to fill the outside centre position.

     On a glorious, sunny day at Cooke Fields the stage was perfectly set for Lichfield’s wide, expansive game plan and they duly delivered in style.

     Lichfield started at a great intensity and tempo and this soon took its toll on Towcestrians. After only 2 minutes, following several forward phases the ball was spread wide to the backs who were already stretching Towcestrians’ defence and simple hands saw Bamidele Fadahunsi stroll over to finish off a good team try. Greg Massey converted the try and Lichfield soon led 7-0.

     However, Lichfield soon allowed Towcestrians to level up the scores after they switched off at a scrum inside their own 22 allowing Towcestrians’ blindside flanker, Jamie Warr, to throw a couple of dummies after a good blindside move to touch down for Towcestrians first try of the day. Towcestrians full-back, Scott Browne, kicked the conversion to make the score 7-7 after 10 minutes.

     Lichfield hit back almost immediately after they turned over the ball from a Towcestrians attack and made their way up field. They were still inside their own half when Richard Burton managed to offload out of the tackle to the supporting Greg Massey. From the halfway line, he sprinted up to the 22 and rounded the full-back with ease to score his first try of the day underneath the posts. He converted his own try and Lichfield went ahead again at 14-7.

     In a very free flowing end-to-end game, it was Towcestrians next to score. After a bit of scrappy build up play inside Lichfield’s 22, it was left to winger, Matt Yuill, to wriggle his way out of a tackle and stretch out to just about score underneath the sticks. The simplest of conversions was kicked by full-back, Scott Browne, which levelled up the scores again at 14-14.

     Lichfield soon made their task that little bit harder when prop, Suvwe Obano, was sin-binned for tackling a Towcestrians player from a quick tap-and-go penalty whilst not retreating the 10 metres but Towcestrians didn’t make their man advantage count and soon Suvwe was back on the pitch with the score still 14-14.

     Lichfield had numerous attacks to score their third try but had to wait right until the stroke of half-time. Following another penalty inside Towcestrians 22, Lichfield opted for a 5-metre scrum and a well-executed first phase backs move saw Tom Adams pass wide to Greg Massey who went over untouched underneath the posts again for his second try of the day. He once again converted his own try and Lichfield went into the break 21-14 ahead.

     The second half started perfectly for Lichfield as just minutes in, Harvey Wootton powered his way over for Lichfield’s fourth and bonus point try and again, Greg Massey converted to stretch Lichfield’s lead to 28-14.

     Soon after, Lichfield were able to turn the ball over again inside their own half and began to counter attack where the ball was spread wide and into the hands of Greg Massey. From the half-way line, he broke through the initial line of defence and once again sprinted past the full-back to score his hat-trick in very similar fashion to how he scored his first try. He stepped up to converted the extras and Lichfield were now 35-14 ahead.

     Lichfield were now full of confidence and a further two tries were to come for them to cap off a great day for the Myrtle Greens. First, from a ruck just inside Towcestrians’ 22, Will Cotterhill picked up from the base, bounced back down the blindside and a clever little dummy saw the space open up for him and he ran in untouched again from 20 metres out. This time, Luke Massey took over kicking duties but the conversion was missed but this still stretched out the score to 40-14.

     A further try followed for Lichfield, their seventh and final try of the game, this time Charlie Milner got himself on the scoreboard after picking up the ball inside Towcestrians’ 22 again, a powerful hand-off saw him break free of the attempted tackle and he dotted the ball down over the try line to get himself on the scoresheet. With Luke Massey now off, the kicking duties passed to Will Cotterhill but he unfortunately missed the conversion as well but the scoreline increased further to 45-14 and there was still 10 minutes to go.

     However, Towcestrians had the final say as they scored two tries in the final 10 minutes to get a bonus point out of the game for scoring four tries. First, following Lichfield conceding a succession of soft penalties, Towcestrians were able to kick to touch for an attacking 5-metre line-out. From the resulting line-out, the Towcestrians pack inched their way towards and over the try line, with second-row, Kieran Frost, the one to touch down. The rushed drop-goal conversion was missed as Towcestrians raced back to get the game restarted as quickly as possible which made the scores 45-19.

     Towcestrians were duly rewarded for all their efforts when in the last play of the game, they were able to suck in the Lichfield defence through tight forward phases and then quickly ship the ball wide to create an overlap where scrum-half, Gus Hopewell, who was now on the wing stepped back inside the stretched covering defence to stretch over for their fourth and bonus point try. The conversion was again missed by full-back, Scott Browne, and straight after the referee blew his whistle for full-time which made the final score 45-24.

     Next weekend, Lichfield are at home again and up against Longton RFC (kick-off 3pm) where they will be looking to settle some scores from their narrow 36-33 defeat at Longton earlier on in the season.