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Stafford RUFC 17 Lichfield RUFC 24

Lichfield RUFC were on the road for the second week in succession for the visit to local rivals Stafford RUFC.

The hosts were enjoying a good run of form having won their last three league games and were looking forward to meeting Lichfield and possibly upsetting the form book and stalling the Myrtle Greens’ promotion push.

Both teams started with a sense of purpose and made their intention to play attacking, enterprising rugby clear from the start.

Stafford struck first in the 13th minute with a well worked converted try to lead 7-0.

Lichfield patiently worked their way back into the game and were rewarded with a fine try from Greg Massey in the 32nd minute to narrow the deficit to 7-5.

On the stroke of half time Lichfield struck again through Tom Adams after a patient build up, the score was converted by Luke Massey and Lichfield went into the break 12-7 in front.

Stafford were determined not to give their local rivals an easy ride and were right back in the game in the 51st minute, a defensive lapse opening up a path for the Stafford centre to race in and level the game at 12-12.

Then George Cotterhill, back from injury and replacing the injured Jack Sporcic, cut a great line to crash over and restore Lichfield’s lead, Luke Massey adding the conversion, to put them 19-12 in front.

The game ebbed and flowed for the next 10 minutes and Stafford struck again to put them right in touch at 19-17.

The final 15 minutes saw Lichfield take control of territory and possession, the Lichfield forwards, upping their game at the right time to give the team greater continuity, and the backs playing the percentages and putting the team in the right areas of the field to take control.

With six minutes remaining Lichfield struck for the decisive score, great continuity and driving play from the forwards, a sniping break from just outside the 22 by Dave Butler who fed Adams to score the final try.

Stafford kept pressing to the final whistle but Lichfield’s defence held firm and they closed the gap on leaders Old Salts to one point with two games in hand.

Next up for the Myrtle Greens is a Staffordshire Cup semi-final at home to Longton on Wednesday (March 17), kick off 7.45pm, before they entertain Shrewsbury on March 20.

Lichfield: Taylor, Gabbitass, Bassett (c), Hicks, Thompson, Albutt, Smith, Burton; Butler, L Massey, Sporcic, Adams, G Massey, Brown, Brear. Subs: Sowden, Upton and G Cotterhill.

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