Old Silhillians RUFC 5 Lichfield RUFC 15

Lichfield came through a tough encounter as the two unbeaten sides came together in the second round of the Midlands Intermediate Cup.

The city side gave first team debuts to Josh Massey, Gareth Brear, Callum Turner and Matt Smith. They also welcomed back Dan Taylor and Greg Massey after injury. The experienced Neil Antcliffe captained the side in the absence of Dave Bassett.

Lichfield started strongly and were taking every opportunity to run at the opposition. Their first clear opening came in the 12th minute, a great break from Antcliffe, Adams cutting an excellent line in support only to knock on with the line at his mercy.

Two minutes later Greg Massey opened up the Sills defence passed on to Rich Burton who fed Callum Turner in support, who again mishandled with a clear run at the line.

Matt Brown and Gareth Brear then combined and only resolute defence prevented Brear scoring a debut try.

The pressure eventually told in the 17th minute, Lichfield forwards putting the opposition under pressure at a line out on their 5 metres and Will Cotterhill, who looked sharp all game went in for an opportunistic score, Antcliffe narrowly missing the conversion in difficult conditions to make it 5-0 to the visitors.

Sills are not unbeaten for nothing however and responded with a well taken try in the 30th minute to draw level at 5-5.

Lichfield came roaring back and after a great scrum Cotterhill fed Adams who found Matt Brown in support and the visitors were back in front at 10-5, Massey hitting the post with a difficult conversion.

Lichfield kept up the pressure and the tight five of Taylor, Gabbitass, Bryant, Axton and Hicks were beginning to dominate their opponents, Taylor in particular prominent with some big carries and Bryant and Hicks marshalling the young pack well.

In the 39th minute Danny Albutt, who was prominent all game, turned over Sills ball, Massey set up the counter attack feeding Antcliffe who found Ngoma in support, he put in a subtle chip for Brear who was again just short of his first try for the Myrtle Greens.

The second half began like the first with Lichfield exerting pressure and after Sills had collapsed a driving maul that had try written all over it, Massey was just wide with the resultant penalty.

The back row of Burton, Albutt and Turner were combining well and it was Burton who fed Turner from a 5 metre scrum to give him a deserved debut try, Antcliffe narrowly wide but Lichfield firmly in control at 15-5 with 60 minutes gone.

Lichfield continued to play with great enterprise, Massey constantly probing, Antcliffe and Adams a constant threat in the midfield and Ngoma weaving through numerous defenders. Brear and Brown on the wings were a menace whenever they had possession but Lichfield just lacked the clinical edge to notch up a number of tries which their constructive play deserved.

There were numerous more chances throughout the game but just as impressive was the quality of Lichfield’s defence. Sills had their share of possession but Lichfield were resolute and disciplined.

Greg Massey was replaced by brother Josh, Smith replaced Brown and Harrison replaced Taylor. The transition was seamless and Lichfield continued to press for the remainder of the game but to no avail as the match finished 15-5 to the visitors.

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