Lichfield RUFCmade the trip to Camp Hill hoping they could improve on a patchy performance against Bedworth – but failed to return with the victory.
Changes were made to the visiting side, with Cotterhill replacing Baker on the left wing, while Paul Maxwell Keys made his full first team debut at full back. Elsewhere, Derrick Squire returned to the second row following an injury lay off, and there was a recall for no.8 Mike Goodwin.
The away side started the game positively. One defensive slip aside, Lichfield were the better side in the opening 20 minutes. The scrum looked strong, Matt Smith’s service was quick and accurate from scrum half, and Rowlands was threatening out wide. Indeed, Rowlands was on hand with a smart finish on the 14 minute mark. Two well struck penalties from Josh Massey and the score read 10-11 in Lichfield’s favour.
Disappointingly, a momentary lapse in concentration denied the visitors the lead at the break. A neat first phase move proved too good for our midfield defence, and the resulting seven pointer saw Camp Hill go back in front.
It was an uninspiring first 40 minutes, but Lichfield were still well in the game. Unfortunately, much worse was to come.
If the travelling fans thought an early second half score would be the catalyst for a comeback victory, they were wide of the mark. The try itself was one for the front row union. Dave Bassett spotted an opportunity down the short side, and fed Gabbitass who crossed out wide. Massey may have missed the resulting conversion, but made amends with a drop goal soon after.
Leading 19-17 with half an hour to go, the greens were in position to turn the screw. But Camp Hill hadn’t read the script.
The final 30 minutes saw Lichfield surrender weekly to a fired up home side, desperate for their first win of the season. Conditions worsened and the away side were unable to match the physicality of their opponents. The kick chase was not good enough and a lack of precision at ruck time cost possession in crucial areas of the pitch.
Camp Hill showed the greater desire to go and get the result. Leading 26-19 after three well taken penalty kicks, they were starting to believe it was their day. The forwards were able to frustrate their Lichfield counterparts by effectively keeping the ball in close quarters. And the kicking game of fly-half Ian Briggs meant they were always on the front foot.
With two minutes remaining, the nightmare was complete. After a sustained period of pressure, Lichfield succumbed to another home score. A series of powerful carries saw Camp Hill rip through a back pedalling defensive line, moving more than seven points clear with a try under the posts.
Lichfield are back at Cooke Fields next time round, where they will hope to bounce back against Whitchurch.
Lichfield: Taylor, Gabbitass, Bassett (c), Thompson, Squire, Paulson, Milner, Goodwin; Smith, J Massey, Rowlands, Adams, G Massey, G Cotterhill, Maxwell-Keys. Subs: Machin, Burton and Brear.