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Lichfield RUFC 53 Ludlow RUFC 16

Lichfield expected a tough battle against a Ludlow side that were level on points with the Myrtle Greens and started brightly.

The visitors were clinging on in the first 10 minutes and conceding penalties as a means of disrupting Lichfield’s rhythm. Unusually, the normally reliable Greg Massey missed with his first three attempts and it was Ludlow, much against the run of play, who drew first blood with penalties in the 10th and 14th minute to give them a 6-0 lead.

Lichfield responded with a try from Greg Massey in the 19th minute, converted by brother Luke, to take a deserved 7-6 lead.

Lichfield were carving holes in the Ludlow defence with Greg Massey, Ngoma and Thomas proving a real handful.

In the 23d minute Ludlow infringed again and Luke Massey coolly slotted the penalty for a 10-6 lead.

Luke Massey then got on the end of a sparkling move to score a try and add the conversion in the 34th minute to give Lichfield a healthy 17-6 lead at half time.

Lichfield started the second half in much the same vein as the first, the tight five of Bassett, Gabbitass, Sowden, Hicks and Squire were dominating their opposition and took a number of balls against the head and were also putting the Ludlow line out under all sorts of pressure. They were also prominent in loose play in attack and defence and probably put in their most consistent performance to date.

In the 47th minute the strong running Sam Baker crashed over under the posts for a fine score converted by Luke Massey and Lichfield were pulling clear at 24-6.

Ludlow remained competitive and stayed in touch with a penalty in the 58th minute to make it 24-9 but the floodgates opened for Lichfield and tries by Adam Thomas in the 58th minute, Greg Massey in the 61st minute and Ngoma in the 75th minute, the latter converted by Luke Massey, saw Lichfield take a healthy 41-16 lead. The try-fest was only interrupted by a good Ludlow try and conversion in the 66th minute.

The Lichfield back row of Burton, Thompson and Albutt were dominant, providing good continuity and also some barnstorming forages into the Ludlow team and some fine offloading to accompany it.

Bryant, Upton and Rose came off the bench and this fresh impetus saw Lichfield take another surge and tries from Greg Massey, completing his hat trick in the 77th minute, converted by brother Luke and Ngoma completing his brace in the 80th minute put Lichfield over 50 points the final score being 53-16.

Lichfield’s strength in depth was reinforced with Lichfield seconds having a fine win over Burton 14-13.

Lichfield: Sowden, Gabbitass, Bassett (c), Hicks, Squire, Burton, Albutt, Thompson; W Cotterhill, G Massey, Baker, Ngoma, Thomas, Sporcic, L Massey. Subs: Bryant, Upton and Rose.

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