Sudbury coach Neil Dachtler looking for further improvements as they close in on last season's points total with victory over Amersham & Chiltern
Sudbury’s 25-13 victory over Amersham & Chiltern leaves them on 48 points, just five short of their 53 points for the whole of last season, and with nine games still to play, writes Ken Watkins.
It is a measure of the improvement made by Neil Dachtler, his coaching team, and the players this season.
But the head coach left frustrated on Saturday immediately after the game, as he reflected on a performance which highlighted an area needing to be worked on in training.
“Obviously we all want to win,” he said, “but to win when you haven’t played well is frustrating because you know there is so much more there,” he said.
“Game management is something we need to work on a little bit. We get into the right areas but we don’t do the right thing in those areas.
“The amount of ball that we had, the points on the board should have been a lot more.
“We’ve got to look after the ball. It’s a lot easier to keep hold of the ball than trying to win the ball back.
“As soon as you kick it away you’ve got to win it back again. That’s what we mean by game management.
“To be fair to the opposition they made sure that whenever we made a mistake we were punished for it. We had to work hard to rectify it.
“We knew they would come out hard at the start of the second half, and we weathered the storm quite well. They never looked like they could win the game, but we looked like we could lose it.”
Sudbury (8th) travel to Southend Saxons (6th) on Saturday.
The teams drew 13-13 at Whittome Field in October. Henry Cowling (shoulder) is ruled out for Dachtler’s side while Chris Whybrow, who took a late hit, is rated as doubtful.
“They are a good, strong side, so we’ve got to match that,” said Dachtler. “Before Christmas I said we could, but now I feel we have some work to do. We’ve got to focus on ourselves a little bit, stop worrying about the opposition, and get back to where we were.”
At Whittome Field on Saturday, Sudbury consolidated their mid-table position on with a solid performance to beat Amersham & Chiltern.
Choosing to play up the slope in the first half, Sudbury were ahead inside the first two minutes with quick hands after a lineout putting Shaun Smith clear down the right wing and Jake Sumner touched down.
Chiltern settled and showed they had a strong defence which frustrated Sudbury all afternoon.
It was 20 minutes in before Sudbury could add to the score with a penalty kicked by Sam Rust.
Chiltern opted to kick a penalty when Sudbury failed to release the ball at the tackle five metres from their line but the hosts replied when, from a penalty lineout midway in the Chiltern 22 a deft crossfield kick ahead by Tom Summers cleared the defence and all Rusty had to do was fall on the ball to score and convert his own try.
A further penalty from Rust extended the Sudbury lead but then Amersham started to come back into the game in the last five minutes of the half, pinning Sudbury inside their own five-metre area and eventually scoring right on the half-time whistle.
The second half saw continuation of Amersham’s’ resurgence and started to disrupt the Sudbury scrum.
But after 20 minutes Sudbury woke up and again attacked the visitors line; a series of pick and drives got Sudbury into a good field position and quick hands put Smith over in the corner. Initially the referee signalled a try but then changed his mind indicating the ball was in touch.
Sudbury retained field position and crossed the Amersham line again only to be hauled back for a forward pass and after a period of pressure Sudbury came away with nothing.
Frustration was creeping in to the Amersham camp and two yellow cards in the space of two minutes reduced them to 13 men and Sudbury were able to throw the ball about to create gaps in the defence and Sumner found room to get through and score his second.
A penalty kick for Amersham reduced the deficit but Sudbury could not get the fourth try for the bonus point with the visitors seeing out the game at 25-13.
* Sudbury Under-18 Girls have been drawn away to Tunbridge Wells in the last 16 of the RFU National Cup. The match is scheduled for Sunday, February 9.
More by this authorRussell Claydon