TWO NORTH EAST
Old Cooperians 7
Sudbury advanced to second in the league with a home win against basement side Old Cooperians on Saturday, though they were not on their best form.
Cold, windy and wet conditions combined with the heavy ground seemed to put the Blues off their stride as they tried in vain to play their wide expansive game without seemingly having a plan B.
Coopers kicked off up the slope and with the stiff breeze giving Sudbury the opportunity to run straight back at them, only to knock on with the ball in hand.
The first scrum saw Sudbury push the big Coopers pack backwards but they did manage to rescue their ball and a deft cross-field kick put the winger free to do what Sudbury usually do to the opposition and score with two minutes on the clock.
It took the hosts 15 minutes to recover, but they eventually worked their way into the visitors’ red zone and were rewarded with a penalty try as the defence piled in to prevent a score.
Progress was slow as Sudbury were falling foul of the referee, their dominance in the scrum was leading him to think they were not scrummaging correctly and their speed in the backs constantly drew offside decisions.
Twenty minutes in the forwards eventually crossed the line for a five-point lead, which Sudbury maintained until half-time.
The second half saw the visitors have more of the play, keeping the ball tight while Sudbury continued to throw the ball wide in the wet slippery conditions with the inevitable handling errors.
Coopers were now falling foul of the ref and gave away a penalty and then 10m, into their 22m area, for backchat. Sam Rust opted to kick and added the three points.
At the restart Coopers kicked straight out, so play was taken back for a scrum on the centre. Nick Robinson picked up from 8 and put the ball wide to Austin Beckett, who fed out to brother Frazer to score behind the posts halfway through the period, converted by Rust.
The rest of the game was played out interspersed with penalties and some yellow cards for backchat and with no further meaningful attempts.
Not Sudbury’s best performance of the season but a win nevertheless.