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Lichfield RUFC earn local bragging rights with 22-18 win at Burton

Lichfield made the short journey up the A38 to local rivals Burton to play in one of the games of the season.

Watched by hundreds of spectators, Lichfield left Peel Croft with their unbeaten record intact and remained top of Midlands Two West.

It was Burton who started the brightest, playing through numerous phases and recycling the ball well. They were left somewhat confused by the ferocity and organisation of the visiting defence and failed to execute a plan B after being stopped dead in their tracks time and time again.

The Lichfield pack never took a step back all day, and when they won the ball for the backs, two wide passes saw them break the Burton line on their first attempt to take play down into the opposition 22. With support arriving, the ball was moved wide into space, but a poor pass saw the ball knocked on.

The visitors set up camp and their pressure was rewarded with a kickable penalty. The effort ricocheted off the post and Burton were able to clear their lines.

Lichfield were maintaining their attacking prowess, and constantly asking questions of the home defence. The final pass that had shown such accuracy in previous games, seemed to be missing, and when the hosts were able to kick out of their 22, and attempted run out from Lichfield saw the ball turned on the ten metre line.

From the resulting scrum, Burton moved the ball wide, and stand out flanker Kelvin Browne penetrated the line for the first time. He was hauled down on the 22, and the ball was moved quickly through the hands for full back Sam Smith to score in the corner.

The hosts started to dominate possession, but couldn’t gain the territory to make it show. Their final attempt saw them turnover the ball on half-way, and the ball was spread wide for Josh Massey to eat up the ground. This was another opportunity for Lichfield, but the ball was lost and the whistle for half-time went.

The visitors kicked off the second half trailing 5-0. Though Burton were enjoying more of the possession, the Lichfield defence left them with no choice but to kick the ball away to the dangerous back three. The ball was gathered and moved left and right, before Will Cotterhill muscled his way over a Burton defender and raced away into the 22. The Lichfield players were flooding through and Burton could only concede a penalty to stop them.

The resulting effort from in front of the posts was missed, but this never deterred Lichfield.

A great kick chase from Greg Massey, pressured the Burton full back to knock on. The resulting midfield scrum saw the Greens power their way through the home defence and the speed of play saw a tiring back row concede another penalty for a high tackle. Lichfield played down the blind side, and only a great tackle stopped a certain try.

But Burton could only clear the ball to Dan Rowlands on the ten metre line, and quick ball wide went through the hands of Greg Massey and Tom Adams before Josh Massey set the speed into space and fed Ollie Winter to show pace and power to score in the corner.

With the scores now tied, the hosts fired into action, taking advantage of some poor breakdown interpretation. Dave Archer put the ball between the posts to take the score to 8-5.

The restart failed to go ten and the resulting scrum saw Burton kick into the corner and win a lineout. The attempted driving maul was well disrupted by the Lichfield eight and the home side were forced infield.

A missed tackle again allowed the ever present Kelvin Browne to break the line and feed the centre to run in a try from five metres, which was converted to give Burton a 15-5 lead with 25 minutes to play.

Lichfield continued their aggressive and intense manner. Excellent play from Luke Taplin and Dave Able saw the ball turned over, before the threatening Will Cotterhill sniped around the fringes. Burton couldn’t live with the speed of play as they went through the phases, coming five metres short before losing the ball.

The resulting scrum was demolished by the Lichfield eight, and the resulting penalty was slotted by Greg Massey.

This was the momentum shift for the visitors as it was Burton who failed to send the kick off ten metres. The scrum saw the Greens play through numerous phases, moving the ball at will to disorganise the home defence.

The ball was spread wide to Dan Rowlands who raced to the corner before being tackled five metres short before offloading to Dave Bassett, who fed Derrick Squires. The pack picked and was held up only inches away. The ball was quickly moved back into the midfield and Dan Taylor found Tom Adams in acres of space to race in under the posts. The try was converted by Greg Massey and the scores were all level with 15 minutes to go.

Burton continued to try and play through the visiting defence, only offering one thought of play. This pressure saw a loose pass intercepted by Will Cotterhill who raced 40 metres to score under the posts. Greg Massey converted and Lichfield led for the first time with only ten minutes to play.

The home side threw all they could at the game and were rewarded with another dubious breakdown decision which saw Dave Archer strike a 40 metre penalty over.

Burton tried in vain to penetrate the Lichfield defence but had no answer the intensity and work rate being shown.

Lichfield: Machin, Gabbitass, Bassett (c), Thompson, Squire, Taplin, Abel, Turner; W Cotterhill, L Massey, J Massey, Winter, Adams, D Rowlands, G Massey. Subs: Taylor, Upton and Maxwell-Keys.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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