Lichfield RUFC celebrated lifting the Staffordshire Senior Cup after a close-fought and dramatic battle against Burton.
On a beautiful spring night the Myrtle Greens travelled to Walsall RFC to play in the final for the first time since 2002. They last won the trophy in the mid 90s so the fixture was a big test of character for the young side.
Burton came out of the blocks strongly and their large pack had Lichfield under pressure during the first ten minutes. However, as is typical of this team they weathered the storm and through their abrasive defence forced two turnovers as Burton pressed for a score. Lichfield converted both of these turnovers into tries through their blistering back line.
The first score came from George Cotterhill, converted by Neil Antcliffe, and this was followed up five minutes later by a score through Tom Adams, converted by Greg Massey.
The game then swung back in Burton’s favour as they had their best period of the game scoring through their captain Joel Booth and then five minutes later through hooker Dan Clarke. Winger Dave Archer adding the extras to the Booth try to take the game to 14-12.
This was how the game stayed for the rest of the half, although a cynical piece of play to stop Lichfield scoring lead to a yellow card for the Burton lock Jon Edwards.
Burton started the second half well and punished the Myrtle Greens’ indiscipline to convert a penalty through Archer only two minutes into the half.
Lichfield then put together a good passage of possession taking play from inside their half to the Burton line, after a series of drives for the line Will Cotterhill crossed for a try which was converted by Neil Antcliffe.
The score was now 21-15 entering the last 20 minutes and the large travelling support were willing Lichfield on.
Burton made several changes in an attempt to inject some fresh impetus and after a period of pressure on the Myrtle Greens line, during which Lichfield lost Tom Adams to the sin bin, they scored through replacement hooker Rob Beddard with Archer adding the conversation Burton took the lead 22-21 with ten minutes remaining.
It took a fantastic tackle from Burton to stop George Cotterhill scoring an excellent try but the pressure Lichfield were piling on their opponents was just too much and they gave away a penalty in front of the posts. This was converted by Neil Antcliffe to make it 24-22.
The Myrtle Greens closed out the final few minutes in the Burton half, with Antcliffe missing a chance to increase the lead with the final kick of the game.
The whistle sounded and Lichfield had won the Staffordshire Senior Cup. This was a great team effort which once again showed the character of the team. A huge thank you must go to the travelling supporters who once again outnumbered the opposition and have been vital to Lichfield over the past couple of seasons.
They will end this season’s campaign away at Camp Hill on Saturday (April 30), knowing that a win will see them finish fourth in the league.
Lichfield: Taylor, Gabbitass, Bassett (c), Thompson, Squire, Burton, Milner, Finnemore; W Cotterhill, Antcliffe, Brown, Adams, G Massey, G Cotterhill, Brear. Subs: Sowden, Savage, Upton, Hicks, Laxton, Butler, Aspley and Rose.