Celebrations as Lichfield RUFC secure promotion with victory

Lichfield RUFC secured promotion to the National 3 Midlands League with a 47-5 triumph at Berkswell & Balsall.

The Myrtle Greens rise was confirmed with a defeat for rivals Burton at Hereford.

Although that game would play a part in proceedings, Lichfield knew that the focus had to be on their own encounter. With the wind at their back, they exploited the conditions well.

Strong runs from Maxwell-Keys and Tom Adams in the centres saw the visitors get forward, as tidy forward play saw space develop for Maxwell-Keys to score with just five minutes played. Josh Massey converted.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though, as Berkswell were resilient and Lichfield forced too many passes resulting in a midfield stalemate. Excellent defensive work meant the hosts rarely got into the 22 and excellent kicking from Jonny Evans saw the advantage swing back in the Greens’ favour time and time again.

It was Adams who got the next breakthrough, with a trademark powerful run and pace to beat the last man.

Lichfield’s kicking game had Berkswell pinned back and on the odd attempt to run it back, the resulting ruck was turned over and Greg Massey cantered in up opposed on 27 minutes. The extras were added for a 19-0 advantage.

But disaster struck for Lichfield captain Dave Bassett who was forced off the pitch moments later through injury and Berkswell asserted themselves with a strong driving line out, resulting in a try.

The score seemed to spur the hosts on and as they looked to increase the physicality of the game, Lichfield equalled and surpassed them with powerful hits from Clarke and Squires. As they tried to move the ball away, Adams was on hand to intercept and race 70 metres for a converted try to make the score 26-5 at half-time.

The Myrtle Greens had to field more kicks in the second half, but their strong running game and powerful forward pack always meant they could develop strong field position. Greg Massey was again on the scoresheet after some strong team play, brother Josh converting. Straight from the resulting kick off the favour was returned, as Greg made a line break to feed Josh to race in the under the posts for a converted try.

With the game now securely sealed, Lichfield rang the changes and carried on the offensive. But credit to Berkswell who developed their phases and pressed hard for a second try, only for the visiting defence to deny them.

It was Adams who finished the game off with his third try of the afternoon in the 75th minute, converted by Massey.

With news filtering through that Burton had lost and promotion was sealed, Lichfield’s celebrations were far from exuberant as they now bid to top the 100 point mark in their final four outings, starting next time out at Whitchurch.

Lichfield: Squire, Clarke, Bassett (c), Thompson, Southern, Burton, Taplin, Prior; Evans, L Massey, J Massey, Maxwell-Keys, Adams, D Rowlands, G Massey. Subs: McDonough, Turner and Milner.

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