Lichfield RUFC suffer second defeat of the season

Lichfield RUFClost for only the second time this season away at Whitchurch.

It was always going to be a difficult task to motivate the squad after last week’s promotion-clinching win, but the team started with great impetus.

The one resounding feature of the game was the whistle and it was Whitchurch who found themselves on the wrong side of it in the early exchanges. This allowed Luke Massey to kick deep into the 22, and once there, the Greens went through the phases and it was Greg Massey who crashed over, with brother Josh converting.

From that point on, Lichfield’s usual snap and intensity evaded them. Penalties and handling errors saw the visitors playing far too much rugby in their own half and it took Whitchurch 15 minutes to score their opening try.

On one of the handful of ventures into the home half, the Greens again worked their way up to the 22 and it was a well-executed backs move that saw Dan Rowlands power over for Massey to convert.

The remainder of the half was somewhat of a stalemate, the only excitement coming at the death, as Tom Adams burst through the defence and fed Greg Massey, the attack and the half halted as Massey pulled up injured.

Lichfield held a seven point margin as they returned for the second half, but this was to be short lived, as the penalty count against them continued to rise. Whitchurch converted the penalty, and they were within four points.

The visitors lacked any cutting edge and when they played with the ball, they were penalised before they could gather any momentum.

A midfield battle ensued, and Lichfield were consistently coming out on the wrong side of the whistle. Whitchurch kicked deep into the 22, and their driving lineout did the damage. The conversion was missed, and the Greens continued to allow their hosts to dictate the game, kicking too deep and watching the ball be returned with interest from the fly-half.

With the penalty count continuing to mount, the home side converted another penalty to stretch their lead to four points and the crowd were starting to make themselves heard.

Lichfield’s effort started to increase as the game started to get away from them and powerful runs from Prior saw them get into the 22 in the 60th minute. A long passage of play ensued, with Milner eventually going over in the corner.

The lead was restored to one point, but the game was to be flipped on its head as Richard Burton received a technical red for two yellow cards. That was enough for Whitchurch to add the three points and restore their lead to 21-19.

Lichfield began to force the game and the mistakes grew as well as the penalty count. With what everyone thought was minutes to go, the Greens were awarded a penalty 25 metres out and in front of the posts. The effort went wide and Whitchurch kicked deep, only for the visitors to again be penalised at the breakdown. The fly-half converted the penalty and sealed the game 24-19 for Whitchurch.

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