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Sudbury players feel defeat could be their turning point ahead of Fullerians trip in London 1 North REPORT: Sudbury take steps forward in their narrow defeat to H.A.C

By Sport Sudbury

Buoyed by a much-improved display, Sudbury go into their next two crucial games against teams below them in London League 1 North, believing their season has reached a turning point, writes Ken Watkins.

The 25-19 home defeat against fourth-placed H.A.C saw fourth-from-bottom Sudbury pick up a bonus point from a match they might have won.

“It’s frustrating,” said coach Ben Scully. “In some ways that hurts more than some of our bigger defeats. But the boys are very upbeat, critical of themselves, but feeling this could be a turning point.

Rugby action from Sudbury v H.A.C, Will Ponty...Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (5473199)
Rugby action from Sudbury v H.A.C, Will Ponty...Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (5473199)

“H.A.C. said they thought they had dodged the bullet.”

Sudbury are at Fullerians on Saturday (3pm), the home side having recorded their first win of the season, a 39-19 victory at bottom-of-the-table Diss, and are four points behind Sudbury.

Scully was greatly encouraged by Sudbury’s display.

“H. A. C are a good side. Well organised, and they’ve got powerful runners. At times they got over the gain line really well. They are obviously fourth for a reason,” he said.

“But our defence was fantastic. We scrambled really well.

“It would have been just great to seal a scalp and start turning our season around. But this could be a great momentum shift for the season ahead.”

Sudbury ran fourth in the league Honourable Artillery Company (H.A.C) very close in a 25-19 defeat on Saturday which saw a much improved performance on previous weeks, writes Don Reekie.

Two lineouts in their 22 saw Sudbury win possession and after four phases of play Tom Summers crossed the line to score five minutes in.

The Blues had had prior warning that the H.A.C pack were well organised but at the first scrum they were pushed back easily, much to the surprise of the Sudbury faithful. However, H.A.C had worked their way down the field and after a lineout in the 22 trundled over the line to score and convert.

Sam Rust regained the lead for Sudbury with a 23-metre penalty kick.

Rugby action from Sudbury v H.A.C, Tom Summers...Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (5473202)
Rugby action from Sudbury v H.A.C, Tom Summers...Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (5473202)

But H.A.C scored again from a forwards push from the five-metre line.

They continued to pressurise the Sudbury line, and after the forwards got them into the red zone the backs completed the move with a slick crossfield move to score on the opposite wing.

Another penalty from Rusty and some good work in the H.A.C 22 put Sudbury back on the attack. But they were let down by some unforced handling errors until a lineout on the left of the pitch saw swift hands move the ball left to right for Shaun Smith to cross the line on the stroke of half-time.

The second half followed the pattern of the first half with both defences being tested to the limit.

An early try by H.A.C stretched their lead but the game was still in the balance.

A powerful run in the centre of the park by Jack Dachtler raised the home supporters and eventually resulted in another opportunity for Rust to kick, which he did with ease.

Handling errors again let chances go as the game ebbed and flowed, giving the visitors a kickable penalty. But it was the home side who pressed for the last five minutes, keeping play in the H.A.C 22 without being able to breach their defence.

Coach Ben Scully said: “In attack we had them all over the place at times. We played some lovely rugby and were back to our free-flowing selves.

“In defence we shut them down and absorbed a lot of pressure and looked comfortable. We’ve got more than enough to stay here (London 1), and I think today showed that.”

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