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Match report: Lichfield RUFC 32 Kenilworth RUFC 14

Lichfield RUFC returned to action against lowly Kenilworth, looking to build on the hard fought victory over Dunlop last time out.

The hosts were boosted by the return to fitness of key players Paul Finnemore and William Cotterhill, who wore the 8 and 9 jerseys respectively.

The game itself exploded into life after just two minutes, before meandering gently until the break. There was an unusually hollow atmosphere around Cooke Fields for the season’s first early kick off, and not many were in place to see the opening try.

Lichfield controlled possession in Kenilworth’s half before a clever Antcliffe grubber kick beat the onrushing defence, allowing Greg Massey to run through and score. The conversion attempt was missed by Josh Massey, but the greens were up and running.

The two teams traded penalties during an uninspiring next 20 minutes, before the next incident of try line excitement.

Ironically, looking back at the last home game, it was Lichfield who profited from a well organised driving maul, after good lineout work from Gabbitass and Thompson. Richard Burton was on hand to score the try, the conversion followed, and the hosts were firmly in front at the break at 15-3

The second half started and again Lichfield struggled to get going. The away side rarely threatened to pull off an upset, but looked for long periods like they would keep the scoreline close.

Finally, a try in the 56th minute proved the catalyst for the best 20 minute period of the match, as Lichfield blew away their opponents with three classy scores.

Playing with more tempo and urgency, they began to find holes in the defensive line and get their offloading style flowing. Paul Finnemore, who carried tirelessly throughout, was on the end of the first move to score.

And just 8 minutes later, Matt Smith finished off a brilliant team effort for the top try of the match, securing the bonus point with 16 minutes to spare.

With Cotterhill sniping at 9 and the likes of Squire and Burton running hard at the line, Lichfield began to expose a tiring Kenilworth outfit. Fittingly, Neil Antcliffe, after an assured display at 10, gave the home crowd one last try to savour. Noticing space in behind, he stabbed a kick through and beat the defence to the bouncing ball to score.

Unfortunately, as the contest fizzled out in the final few minutes, it was Kenilworth who had the final word with their only try of the match.

A patchy performance from the hosts, brilliant in spells but average in others. Good enough for five points, though.

Lichfield return to action next Saturday (November 19) with a trip to Old Halesonians, kick-off 2.15pm.

Lichfield: Sowden, Gabbitass, Bassett (c), Thompson, Paulson, Finnemore; W Cotterhill, Antcliffe, Brown, Adams, G Massey, Smith, J Massey. Subs: Taylor, Upton and Aspley.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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