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Lichfield RUFC 47 Banbury RUFC 12

Lichfield RUFC welcomed Banbury to Cooke Fields hoping to return to winning ways after their narrow away defeat to Bournville last week.

Despite their lowly league position Banbury have had a number of narrow defeats this season and so Lichfield were taking nothing for granted.

Banbury started strongly, their heavy forwards keeping the ball tight and narrow and they were rewarded in the 4th minute with a try for one of their huge props who drove from close range to give the visitors a 5-0 lead.

Lichfield responded straight from the kick off and drove into Banbury’s half with some clever interplay between backs and forwards. Their enterprise was rewarded in the 8th minute when James Perrin’s cut a great support line to slice open the defence and crash over near the posts. Josh Massey’s attempted conversion was on target but the strong wind blew the ball back from between the uprights and the hosts were level at 5-5.

Banbury were still playing with confidence and no little skill and their efforts were rewarded in the 20th minute when their winger rounded off a fine move, converted by their fly half to restore their lead at 12-5.

Lichfield were then further hampered when Chris Upton found himself in the bin for 10 minutes. The Myrtle Greens were still looking very composed and were defending very well. In the 29th minute Greg Massey found a gap in the defence and raced over for a fine try, brother Josh converting, and Lichfield were level at 12-12.

In the 35th minute Will Cotterhill got his reward for pressurising the Banbury scrum half at the base of a scrum and intercepted the ball to scurry over from the half way, Josh Massey again converting, and Lichfield were in front for the first time at 19-12.

The hosts were playing with confidence. The back row of Paulson, Burton and Milner looked well balanced and assured, putting in some big hits and were a constant threat at the breakdown. The tight five of Bassett, Gabbitass, Savage, Perrins and Upton had began to wear down the bigger Banbury side and were performing particularly well in their defensive capacity.

The increased pressure paid dividends towards the end of the first half when the referee lost patience with the visitors’ misdemeanours and awarded a penalty try for a deliberate knock on which prevented Brear getting on the score sheet. Josh Massey brought the half to a close with the conversion and his side were 26-12 up at the break.

Half time brought no relief for Banbury. The Lichfield backline of Tom Adams and Luke and Greg Massey were now well into their stride and were carving holes in the opposition defence. In the 59th minute Greg Massey benefited from some great forward play to score the bonus point try, again converted by brother Josh, to put his side clear at 33-12.

Brear, Brown and Josh Massey had a frustrating afternoon in the back three, running some great support lines and setting up some promising positions, but were unlucky not to get on the end of a number of tries which would probably have come their way on another afternoon.

Dolby-Glover replaced Savage, Butler replaced Cotterhill and Tom Storr made his league debut as Lichfield introduced fresh legs to close out the game.

In the last 15 minutes Lichfield could have been more clinical but Banbury were still playing with pride and passion and it was never easy for the home side.

However Tom Adams rounded the game off with a brace of tries in the 65th and 70th minutes, again converted by Josh Massey and Lichfield had secured a satisfying 47-12 victory.

Lichfield can now look forward to testing their mettle against a Camp Hill side who have had a very successful league campaign this season and will look forward to measuring their improvement against a team who beat them at Cooke Fields earlier in the season.

Lichfield: Savage, Gabbitass, Bassett (c), Upton, Perrins, Burton, Milner, Paulson; W Cotterhill, L Massey, Brown, Adams, G Massey, Brear, J Massey. Subs: Dolby-Glover, Storr and Butler.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.