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Bournville RUFC 28 Lichfield RUFC 24

Rugby ball. Pic: Neil Winton

Lichfield were hoping for a much improved performance after their last away game, but were aware they faced a tough task against a powerful Bournville team in who were in 3rd place in the league and with only three defeats all season.

The game started poorly for Lichfield and they were 8-0 down after 6 minutes falling prey to a penalty and then a try through the Bournville winger.

Lichfield gathered themselves and after 10 minutes Josh Massey struck a sweet penalty to reduce the deficit to 8-3. Lichfield were now building up a head of steam and Greg Massey went over for a fine try following a number of powerful forward drives to reduce tie the scores at 8-8.

A revamped pack were playing well and despite being under pressure in the tight were working hard in the loose to provide go forward ball for the backs.

Bournville came back strongly and just before half time but failed to cross the line and the sides went into the break at 8 all.

In the second half Bournville went to their heavy forwards to try and drain the Lichfield 8. In the 43d minute the Bournville hooker went over for a try which gave them the lead at 13-8.

Lichfield were not going to lie down and they kept taking the game to Bournville in a positive attempt to play attacking rugby. The tight 5 of Bassett, Savage, Taylor, Squire and Hicks were prominent in the loose and the back row of Paulson, Milner and Finnemore were massive in defence and always on hand to offer continuity and go forward ball.

Will Cotterhill controlled the ball well, and kept the Bournville back row under pressure with his varied game. Luke and Greg Massey along with Tom Adams coped admirably with the opposition midfield and made numerous line breaks. Gareth Brear had one of his best games to date and was just denied a breakthrough by desperate defence and Josh Massey and Matt Brown were always on hand and cover defended well along with making a number of insightful breaks and looked threatening throughout.

In the 47th minute Josh Massey sent a massive penalty sailing over and Lichfield were two points behind at 13-11. He repeated the feat in the 55th minute and this took Lichfield into the lead for the first time at 13-14.

Greg Massey then spotted a mismatch in the midfield after the Greens had sucked in the defence with a number of powerful drives and went over under the posts, brother Josh converting and Lichfield were further in front at 13-21.

Bournville struck back with a try from their flanker in the 65th minute to close the gap to 18-21.

Oliver Dolby-Glover replaced Dan Taylor and Rich Burton replaced John Hicks. Burton made an instant impact turning over ball that almost resulted in a try and gave the Lichfield 8 a fresh impetus.

Josh Massey pulled Lichfield further ahead with another penalty on 71 minutes and Lichfield held on until the 77th minute when the referee inexplicably brought play back after Lichfield had turned over ball to give Bournville a 5metre scrum. A number of drives saw the home side go over for a converted try to regain the lead at the death 28-24.

Lichfield kept playing with confidence and were unlucky not to win the game at the end with some exhilarating play that was denied the try after a knock on with line begging.

This was a great performance from Lichfield and a demonstration of the strength in depth of their squad with Sowden, Gabbitass, Thompson, Birnie, Sporcic, George Cotterhill and Selway all unavailable. Lichfield also moved up to sixth, with their first losing bonus point of the season, putting them ahead of Old Laurentians.

Lichfield now look forward to their first home game of the new year against Banbury, 2:15pm kick off at Cooke Fields.

Team: Taylor, Gabbitass, Bassett ©, Hicks, Squire, Paulson, Milner, Finnemore; W Cotterhill, L Massey, Brown, Adams, G Massey, Brear, J Massey. Subs: Dolby-Glover, Burton and Butler.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.