First-half failings see Sudbury give themselves too much to do

PAYING RESPECTS: Sudbury Rugby Club remembered former player Mark Pinnegar ahead of Saturdays game
PAYING RESPECTS: Sudbury Rugby Club remembered former player Mark Pinnegar ahead of Saturdays game

LONDON LEAGUE

DIVISION ONE NORTH

Sudbury 22

Ruislip 30

Sudbury’s season-long habit of gifting tries to their opponents proved costly once more, seriously sabotaging their slender hopes of avoiding relegation.

The damage was done in an error-strewn first half when Ruislip took advantage of some poor tackling to run in three tries.

Sudbury’s performance improved, as they fought back after the interval, but they came up short.

“It’s the story of our season,” said head coach Ben Scully. “We gave them three easy scores in the first half. Once we got on top of them, we started sending them backwards and they struggled.

“You will get these peaks and troughs. That’s all part of learning. But we have to learn our lessons very, very quickly because we are running out of season.

“If we have left it too late for this year, then we have to rebuild next year. But I’m staying positive as there are still six games to go.”

Sudbury’s poor first half – passes dropped, tackles missed – handed Ruislip the initiative, all the more disappointing as Sudbury had started well, and with an overlap should have been ahead in the third minute, but the final pass failed to stick.

Inevitably, with their first real attack, Ruislip took the lead, Michael Reed bursting through some poor tackling in the eighth minute. Stu Pearham converted.

Chris Lewis and Pearham exchanged penalties before Ruislip struck again in the 23rd minute, Danny Barry making the most of missed tackles and Pearham adding the extras.

Sam Hainsworth ran in unopposed in the 32nd minute, Pearham converting, but Sudbury raised their game, and Lewis rounded off a fine passing move by going over out wide in the 38th minute.

And when Charles Jackson went over following another good move in the 49th minute, Lewis again converting, Sudbury were just seven points adrift and it was game on.

But Pearham kicked another penalty after 57 minutes, and increased Ruislip’s lead when he dropped a goal 10 minutes later.

Sudbury fought back, Lewis scoring in the corner five minutes from the end. But he was narrowly off target with the conversion, and the losing bonus point was missed.

“With five minutes to go, we claw it back to 22-30. Then we have 16 phases and get into their 22. We carry one too many times, lose the breakdown, and they send us back,” said Scully.

“We have the habit of doing something sublime and then something ridiculous. We are just not taking care of the little things.”

n A memorial lunch and auction in memory of former player Mark Pinnegar, who died suddenly at the age of 52 last year, saw £10,000 raised to help his family. His number 6 shirt was retired for the day, and prior to the match there was a minute’s applause.