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Lichfield RUFC see off Tamworth challenge to lift the Staffordshire Cup

Lichfield ended their season on a high by beating Tamworth 31-16 to lift the Staffordshire Cup.

It was a scrappy affair, and although on paper the Greens looked favourites, rustiness and solid play from their opponents made it an 80 minute game.

Tamworth were first to strike, courtesy of some Lichfield ill discipline, as the full-back’s boot broke the deadlock.

The Greens were struggling to string phases together and hold onto the ball as their opponents pressed hard in defence. But a length of the field break saw play move into the Tamworth 22, and from the resulting lineout, a well worked set piece move saw Luke Massey score unopposed and convert to the make the score 7-3 after 16 minutes.

The score spurred Lichfield on and they began to move the ball across the field, with the accuracy and pace of play too much for Tamworth to handle. However, too many errors meant it was another ten minutes before a scrappy ball was shipped wide for Greg Massey to scythe through the defence and score. Luke Massey converted, and with the score at 14-3, supporters felt the Greens would kick on to dominate. There was no such luck and Tamworth punched through the lines. Hard running forwards offloading and gaining ground earned them two penalties within five minutes to put them within touching distance again.

At 14-9, the first half seemed over, but there were to be two decisive moments. The first was a yellow card for the Tamworth lock, for persistent hands in the ruck, and the second was to be a try for Brad Rowlands in the corner.

Lichfield went in at half-time 19-9 up, knowing that if they could keep hold of the ball their fitness would blow their opponents away in the second half.

It started very much as expected, with some excellent tactical kicking taking the Greens into Tamworth’s 22. A strong break by Ollie Winter some him wriggle and roll to the try line, with Greg Massey converting.

Again, there was no kick-on by Lichfield and instead there was a further ten minutes of midfield play, with both teams guilty of poor decisions and silly mistakes.

It was another set piece move that unlocked Tamworth, as Josh Massey was found in space to race 40 metres to score in the corner, beating the covering defender. The conversion was missed, and with the score at 31-9, with 20 minutes to go, the crowd expected the floodgates to open. Unfortunately, they were left wanting, as play stopped and started, and both teams rung the changes.

It was Tamworth who had the final say, when a rare venture into the Lichfield dangerzone, saw them set a maul and work it up to the try line. With the Greens throwing everything at it, legal and illegal, the referee was left with no choice to award a penalty try. It was converted and the final ten minutes were played out, with the score remaining 31-16.

Lichfield RUFC
: McDonough, Gabbitass, Bassett ©, Taylor, Squire, Doubleday, Winter, Milner; W Cotterhill, L Massey, B Rowlands, Maxwell-Keys, Adams, D Rowlands, G Massey. Subs: Machin, Craddock, J Massey, Preece, Fielding and G Cotterhill.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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