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Whitchurch RUFC 15 Lichfield RUFC 27

After last week’s disappointing result against Camp Hill, Lichfield RUFC travelled to Whitchurch expecting another severe test against a team with a formidable home record and who had beaten both Bournville and Camp Hill this season.

The visitors started in confident fashion, the forwards particularly looking to put last week’s disappointing display behind them. Joe Thompson, Dan Taylor and Steve Gabbitass returned to the pack, Will Cotterhill made his first start of the season and the pack was soon showing a resolve and commitment to compete.

Within seven minutes Lichfield were in front after putting together several phases of play, Tom Adams powering over in the corner to give the Greens a deserved 5-0 lead.

Playing against a strong wind the Myrtle Greens expected a battling response and were not disappointed, their hosts making good use of the elements to control territory but time and again aggressive defence around the fringes saw their best efforts repulsed.

Bassett, Gabbitass and Taylor soon asserted themselves in the tight, Squire and Thompson were outstanding in the line out but the forwards were also prominent in the loose carrying ball but also working tirelessly in defence.
Paulson, Milner and Burton were allowed more opportunity to roam and were a constant menace, in attack and competing for ball at the breakdown.

However as with last week, despite carving out numerous chances they found themselves going in at the break 12-5 down falling foul of two late tries by Camp Hill, one of which was converted.

The half-time break enabled Lichfield to regroup and they came out firing on all cylinders. Cotterhill was tormenting the opposition with some devastating box kicks and good chasing ensured that they maximised the territorial advantage.

In the 48th minute some great interplay between backs and forwards saw the Camp Hill defence breached and Tom Adams slid a great kick through the opposition defence for the pacey Brear to collect and score a great try under a lot of pressure in the corner and Lichfield were back in touch at 10-12.

Four minutes later further visiting pressure drew a penalty for Luke Massey to coolly convert and Lichfield were deservedly in front at 13-12.

Massey was controlling the game well, taking territory when on offer but also alert to attacking options when space allowed. Brother Greg was in fine form, making numerous line breaks and along with Adams forming an impenetrable barrier across the midfield. Gareth Brear and Matt Brown worked tirelessly chasing kicks, supporting and giving the team go forward ball with which to exploit the territory. Josh Massey, in his first full season of senior rugby had his best game to date and made some incisive entries into the line but was also solid in defence.

In the 55th minute Greg Massey profited from a crunching tackle by Adams which forced the opposition to spill the ball. Massey collected and outpaced the defence to go in under the posts from the half way, brother Luke converted and the Myrtle Greens were stretching further ahead at 20-12.

Whitchurch were not going to capitulate and kept working to get back into the game. Their efforts were rewarded in the 64th minute when a penalty brought them to within a score at 20-15.

In spite of the increasing pressure Lichfield maintained a strong grip on the game and Whitchurch’s desperate desire to get back into the match worked against them, when in the 66th minute Luke Massey was able to intercept a speculative kick to score a fine try, which he also converted, to put Lichfield two scores clear at 27-15.

The game remained highly competitive in the final quarter and the visitors brought on Ben Sowden, Dan Albutt -making a welcome return from a tour of duty in Afghanistan – and Dave Butler to inject fresh impetus and this helped them to remain at their best to hold out for a fine 27-15 victory.

Lichfield are on the road again this weekend (October 23) for their toughest test to date at Dudley, sitting proudly at the top of the league and unbeaten.

Lichfield: Taylor, Gabbitass, Bassett (c), Thompson, Squire, Burton, Milner, Paulson; W Cotterhill, L Massey, Brown, Adams, G Massey, Brear, J Massey. Subs: Sowden, Albutt and Butler.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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