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Lote stars as Lichfield RUFC 2nds see off Walsall challenge

Lichfield RUFC’s 2nds produced a strong performance to see off local rivals Walsall.

They were returning to the scene of a heavy defeat in the final game of last season, but showed no signs of nerves as an early loose kick being field by Preece and offloaded to Lote who used his pace and power to cross in the corner.

Despite looking in control in the early exchanges, Lichfield’s ill discipline at the breakdown allowed the home side a toehold in the game, and they made the most of an opportunity in the 22 when a bouncing ball was scooped up by the left winger to touch down for a converted try.

The visitors looked on top, but some poor decision making meant chances to regain the lead were missed, until Lloyd slotted a penalty in front of the posts.

Worryingly, on numerous occasions Walsall showed positivity to attack wide from their own half, as the narrow Myrtle Greens defence gifted overlaps. It was from one of these moves that the home team extended their lead, moving the ball wide, getting around the Lichfield back line and using inside support to get over the line to lead 12-10.

Rocked out of their complacency, the city side started to put together some phases and looked dangerous with ball in hand. A quickly taken penalty saw winger Meehan cross in the corner, while Upton showed good pace and strength to further extend Lichfield’s lead to 22-12 at half time, although some poor options meant that the margin was not what it could have been.

Walsall started the second half strongly, but it was the visitors who scored first, a good break by Storr saw Lichfield held up on the line, but Lote again showed his physicality by fending off two players on his way to touching down in the corner, just before being bundled into touch.

At 27-12, one more try was likely to win it for the Myrtle Greens and despite the referee frustrating both sides by his refusal to allow either team to compete at the ruck, the decisive score arrived when Ollerenshaw was first to react to the ball shooting out of a scrum and then feed to fellow substitute, debutant Matt Raybould, who showed great pace to go outside his opposite wing.

Lichfield’s saved their best til last, with Upton making good yards from the resulting kick off. Quick ball found Taplin out wide, and a show and go from the number 8 took him to the Walsall 22, where prop Machin showed great acceleration to be the nearest support runner and then fantastic hands to unselfishly offload to the unstoppable Lote who sealed his hat-trick.

This move showed the dynamic and clinical rugby this Lichfield side is capable of, but should be achieving with greater regularity.

Walsall scored a consolation late on to bring the score to 37-17, when proceedings were brought to a halt following a nasty looking injury to new boy Raybould.

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