Longton 1st XV 22 v 14 Sutton
Longton recorded a much-needed 5 point victory in beating 7th. placed Sutton Coldfield at Trentham Fields by 22pts. to 14 in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd including many former players and supporters.
The game started badly for the hosts when they conceded 14pts. in the first 18mins.with the visitors dominating possession for the majority of this time, having already missed with two long-range penalties from 50m. and 45m. Longton were struggling to gain lineout ball and were under pressure in the scrums from the big opposition pack.
It wasn’t until the 30th. minute of the half that Longton finally managed some sustained possession and from a lineout some 6m. from the visitors’ try line fly-half, Scott Rawlings, threw a long pass out wide left to full-back, Sam Evans, who took the ball at pace and burst over at great speed to score a fine try. The difficult conversion failed and it was now 14 – 5pts. From the kick-off the ball was moved out to the left wing where winger, Mark Doughty, set off at pace from his own half to outstrip the defence from some 50m. to score a fine try. Scott Rawlings landed the conversion from wide left to make the score 14 – 12pts. and, after the early shocks, Longton were right back in the game.
With Pete Wilshaw and Mikey Allen carrying the ball strongly and making good ground Longton were now beginning to assert control. In the 38th. minute the hosts kicked a penalty deep into the Sutton Coldfield “22” before several forward surges ended with Mikey Allen being driven over for the third try. The conversion missed leaving the half-time score at 17 – 14pts. to Longton.
In the early part of the second half Sutton Coldfield’s, Peter Meachin, was yellow carded but despite this the opposition attempted to move the ball wide at every opportunity once their big forwards had punched forward several metres. Longton though were tackling with increased ferocity and determination and were able to repel successfully all their attempted attacks.
After 18mins. of the half a powerful run by Mikey Allen made excellent ground before he slipped a short pass to the supporting Scott Rawlings who handed off an attempted tackle to crash over some 10m. in from touch for a fine try. The conversion missed just left of the posts but Longton now led by 22 – 14pts.
Sutton Coldfield now threw everything at the Longton defence in an attempt to salvage something from the match but Longton too had further chances to increase their lead but without success. In the last 5miinutes Sutton Coldfield gave their all but, after a yellow card for both sides following a scuffle on the ground, Longton saw out time to record their 4th. win in the last 5 games by 22 – 14pts.
This was a fine all-round performance by a rejuvenated Longton in an entertaining match. Special mention must be made of George Glenn who deputised for Martin Ellis at loosehead prop when the latter was forced to leave the field for a head injury assessment. He faced an opponent who was 5-6 stone heavier but far from capitulating he and the rest of the Longton pack began to dominate the scrums as the big men tired. The Longton team in general gave 100% with some brave tackling particularly in the backs.
Next week Longton travel to third-placed Whitchurch followed by a home game against league leaders, Bromsgrove.