Lichfield RUFC 11 Droitwich RFC 7

Lichfield RUFC were made to work hard to progress past the third round of the National Cup by a Droitwich side who had lost just once all season in Midlands 2 East.

Conditions were dismal with a driving wind and rain which meant the floodlights were on from kick off at 2pm. In spite of these conditions both sides showed a willingness to run the ball and skill levels were high for such poor weather.

Lichfield started strongly and the midfield of Massey, Ngoma and Thomas were making some penetrating runs well supported by the forwards who gave Lichfield plenty of continuity. Bassett, Taylor and Gabbitass were effective in the loose and the tight and the second row pair of Turner and Axton performed well at the line out and hit the break downs to ensure a plentiful supply of ball.

Lichfield had to wait until the 40th minute for their first score, a well struck penalty from Greg Massey, to go into half time leading 3-0.

Lichfield started the second half in determined fashion, the back row of Smith, Burton and Thompson were tearing into the opposition, providing good ball on the front foot for Massey to get his mid field working.

In the 47th minute the pressure was rewarded with another penalty for Lichfield, again converted by Greg Massey and Lichfield doubled their lead to 6-0.

Droitwich remained a threat throughout and their driving forward play was well handled by Lichfield who defended the fringes well particularly against the wind in the second half.

Clark controlled the game well and made a few telling breaks to keep the Droitwich defence on their toes.

In the 57th minute Luke Massey, who had a fine game at full back in difficult conditions, made an incisive line break and chipped through for Jack Sporcic to show his football skills and dribble past the defence to score in the corner. This put Lichfield well clear at 11-0 with 57 minutes gone.

Both sides had players binned in the second half and they continued to try and play enterprising rugby.

Lichfield were guilty of relaxing with 20 minutes to go and Droitwich with wind at their backs dominated territory and possession.

Brear, who had had another fine game in his first senior season for Lichfield, left the field with an injury to be replaced by Will Cotterhill making a welcome return after his own spell on the treatment table.

Perrins and Sowden, also back from injury, came on to add impetus to the team and they continued to be resolute in defence against some determined driving play from a talented Droitwich outfit.

Droitwich pressure finally told in the 63d minute when they drove over from a lineout, which had been effective all game, adding the conversion to narrow the score to 11-7.

Droitwich continued to press, but a well organised Lichfield defence stood firm and also maintained a threat every time they got the ball, and ran out winners 11-7.

Lichfield return to league action against Ludlow who sit a place below them in third spot. The following week will see the city side take on fourth-placed Dixonians as the second part of a crucial double-header.

The club’s Staffs Cup Semi-Final against National Three side Longton will now be played after Christmas.

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