First Team Sub
Sep 22, 2012, 5:46 PM
Midlands 1 West
Re: [PaulC] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION
Lichfield RUFC 77 Barkers Butts RUFC 15
Admission: £3 (old codgers rate), programme with admission (32pp glossy, mainly adverts + 4pp match insert, including teams, past match reports and league round-up)
Refreshments: veggie burger, onion rings and lettuce £2.95, very tasty
Attendance: 119 (h/c)
Another week, another festival of points, with the Ostrich knocking off a new ground in Cooke Fields, which is a complex behind the Horse and Jockey pub, on the Tamworth Road a mile or so east of Lichfield, and ticking one of the three newcomers I need to see in this league, the newly-promoted Meridan-based club, Barkers Butts.
Entering and paying on the gate, there’s hard-standing parking for 50 cars and an overflow grass car park for another 40 or so. The main pitch is off to the left, unusually for this level floodlit, with two dugouts, and a covered stand seating 200. The two-tier brick club-house and changing rooms are ahead, and behind them are three further pitches, set at a higher level, with at least one of them floodlit. Upstairs in the clubhouse is a function room / bar for sponsors that looked packed when I poked my head through the door, downstairs is a general bar, with a collection of Staffordshire plates and the usual rugby mementoes and paraphernalia, and a snack bar, “BJ’s”, with a wide menu including “The Front Row Burger” – a triple cheeseburger, lettuce, ketchup and chips, and “The Beast” – wait for it …. – 6 sausages, 3 bacon, 3 eggs, beans, chips and 3 bread and butter, both for £5.95. The Ostrich thought it had died and gone to heaven, but settled for a less cholesterol-intensive veggie burger.
Again unusually, the ground sports a working tannoy, as I discovered during the first half when they started appealing for a car owner who was blocking the entrance to the equipment container. After two announcements, they inadvertently switched to broadcasting some Sky sporting event over the tannoy, which meant for the next five minutes or so, until they realised their error, we seemed to be playing in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 40,000 rather than 119.
As to the match, Butts started by missing an easy 3rd minute penalty; Lichfield responded scoring a penalty of their own after 6m. After that it was good, entertaining stuff, with Lichfield more than masters of the close handling movement, although more than once this included neatly handing the final pass off to a bemused opponent! Butts had numerous breaks, but usually contrived to misplace the ball in the final 10 yards or so, although they did score a first interception try through Hughes after 11m and a second on 52m when a substitute plunged over from a maul in front of the posts.
However, the away side’s defence often went AWOL and Lichfield registered 12 tries, many involving searing midfield breaks. Their final 35 points came in the last quarter, including a hat-trick for winger Rowlands – his first came when a high kick into the Butts 22 bounced awkwardly for full-back Knox, who fell, twisting his ankle, leaving Rowlands an easy catch and sprint on the outside, the second was a kick into the middle of the park which sat up perfectly for Rowlands to take at full stride, and his final score was an interception in his own 22 and an unchallenged run the length of the pitch to ground between the posts. And there were 7 conversions and three tries on the day for Lichfield’s other winger Josh Massey.
The match was efficiently officiated by Carl Hall, an exchange referee from the Durham Society, who was happy to let the game flow.
(This post was edited by Ostrich on Sep 22, 2012, 5:50 PM)