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Free-scoring Lichfield RUFC too strong for Berkswell and Balsall

Lichfield RUFC’s scoring touch didn’t fail to deliver once more as they crushed Berkswell and Balsall 60-5 at Cooke Fields.

The visitors came looking for their first win of the season, but found their hosts in formidable form.

The rain held off, and Lichfield showed their intent from the off as Paul Maxwell-Keys gathered the kick-off, before Berkswell were penalised at the breakdown and the ball was kicked into the corner. A flourishing attack was halted by a forward pass, but the signs were already there of what was to come.

And the respite only proved to be brief as the Myrtle Greens crossed for the first try after just seven minutes. Some neat handling down the blindside saw Dan Rowlands fend off two defenders to score in the corner.

The next 20 minutes saw Lichfield dominate possession, but a resolute Berkswell defence and some interesting law interpretations meant the scoreboard wasn’t troubled.

The visitors did have their own ventures into the Lichfield half, but excellent set piece defending from the pack saw the ball turned over on numerous occasions.

It was from one of these that play was taken into the Berkswell 22. The home side tied in the defence, before an excellent pass from Luke Massey found Maxwell-Keys in space to feed the supporting Charlie Milner to scamper over and score his first try of the day.

Lichfield made some tactical changes and the impressive Sam Prior entered the fray to bulldoze his was across the gain line. This intensity seemed too much for Berkswell as they conceeded a further three tries in the ten minutes before half-time.

Cal Turner was first when he stole the ball from the scrum and sprinted 20 metres to score, before Luke Massey dived over from close range after some excellent forward work. Charlie Milner then scored again after slicing through the defence.

Lichfield went into half-time leading 29-0 and the second began in the same manner as the first as they pinned the opposition in their own half. Another turnover ball again saw the Greens shift play across the field, where Massey found Maxwell-Keys to sprint over for his first of the day.

A purple patch for the hosts came in the next ten minutes as they pressurised the visitors and kept hold of the ball well. Their forward ascendency saw Sam Prior powered over from close range, and Maxwell-Keys got his second after another turnover ball was shifted wide.

Lichfield did find themselves on their own line on occasions and stuck in their own 22 for a prolonged period. Penalty after penalty saw Berkswell tap and attack, but a strong defence repelled each and every attempt to breach the line.

Even when Nick Southern saw yellow for a tackle that didn’t look to be dangerous, Berkswell were unable to score. Instead, it was Lichfield who attacked. Play being moved side to side, until the power of the pack saw Prior sprint in from half way and score his second of the day.

Berkswell gathered the restart and won possession from a lineout. Their back row made ground against some poor tackling, and was pulled down five metres short. What looked like a penalty to Lichfield after some excellent work by Milner, saw him yellow carded in the 71st minute. The visitors pressed and were rewarded with a score for their forwards. The conversion was missed and Lichfield lead 53-5.

With five minutes to play, the Greens again pressed deep into the Berkswell half. Some excellent play saw the ball turned over, and the forwards and backs interlinked well to make ground. It was again the power of the pack that told as Prior crashed over from close range. The try was converted by Lote to make the final score 60-5.

Lichfield: Craddock, Clarke, Bassett (c), Thompson, Squire, Turner, Taplin, Southern; Clark, L Massey, Maxwell-Keys, Milner, Adams, D Rowlands, Lote. Subs: Prior, Raybould, Evans.

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