Hutton RUFC
13

MAR

Birchfield 14 - Hutton 25
Hutton made sure it wasn’t unlucky 13 as they showed grit and determination to come from behind and secure a hard-earned away day victory. Their thirteenth win in a row keeps hopes of a top two finish alive with six games remaining.
The tight nature of Birchfield’s pitch meant both sides used kick and chase tactics in search of an early territorial advantage. The home side began brightly and seemed up for the occasion as Hutton were slow and careless in their play. After missing a penalty attempt, Birchfield were successful with their second attempt at goal to take a deserved lead. The three points seemed to shake Hutton into action and from the restart gained possession of the ball. After winning the ball inside Birchfield’s 22, Dan Balmer broke clear and offloaded to winger Greg Partington who showed great footwork to elude three defenders and cross in the corner. Andy Tobutt added the conversion to take Hutton into the lead at 7-3. After working themselves into the lead, Hutton were then guilty of giving a penalty away straight after the restart. The offence in front of the posts was punished with another three points to cut the advantage to 7-6. Again, the response from the visitors was positive and they went on the front foot at the set piece. Catch and drive tactics from the lineout saw Hutton work themselves in front of the Birchfield posts. Hutton spurned the opportunity of a straightforward three points when they lost the ball from a quick tap penalty and then a free kick led to Hutton driving within sight of the line but Birchfield survived. Tobutt missed a long range penalty towards the end of the half as the scoreline stayed 7-6 at the break.
Hutton began the second half in the same sluggish fashion as they did in the first 40 minutes, and Birchfield sensed their opportunity. After kicking well to the corner, a quickly taken lineout saw the home side’s flanker gather the loose ball and drive over from close range. The conversion attempt missed, to leave Birchfield with an 11-7 lead. The home side’s tails were up at this point and they went in search of a second score, with a string of kicks pinning Hutton inside their own 22. Hutton’s scramble defence was up to the task though and they kept the Birchfield attacks at bay before clearing their line. With twenty minutes of the game remaining, Hutton still trailed by four points and after weathering another storm from the home side, set about making inroads into the deficit. The forwards recycled ball well on the left flank and when it was spun out, Tobutt slotted a drop goal and Hutton came away with three points for their efforts, 11-10. This lifted the Hutton side and they went on the offensive, turning the backline with a series of kicks. Swift handling and a kick to the corner was the foundation for their next score. A 5m scrum was walked towards the line by the pack, and with the ball at his feet, number 8 Tom Bailey controlled and scored. Tobutt added the conversion, 17-11. From the restart, Hutton were again guilty of switching off, and a needless penalty allowed Birchfield to get back to 17-14. With time running out, Hutton won a penalty in front of the posts which Tobutt converted, and more importantly, then regained possession from the restart. Great interplay between forwards and backs saw Hutton run the ball from deep inside their 22 up into the Birchfield half. After being held up in midfield, the ball was spun wide and replacement winger Mike Morris was on hand to dive over in the corner for the last action of the game. Hutton had secured a victory where many a team have come unstuck this season. Next week, top of the table Aldwinians visit HQ.

Tries: G. Partington, T. Bailey, M. Morris
Conv: A. Tobutt 2
Pen: A. Tobutt
Drop: A. Tobutt

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