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Upton crash to last-eight reverse in cup
9:20am Saturday 3rd December 2011 in Rugby
Upton-upon-Severn 10, Lutterworth 18.
UPTON-upon-Severn suffered defeat to Lutterworth in the quarter-finals of the Midlands National Intermediate Cup quarter-finals.
Leicestershire-based Lutterworth play at the same level as Upton but are riding high in their league this season, Midlands Two East (South), and certainly looked the part when they and their fans arrived on two coaches with an army of match day officials, physios and coaches.
The game was played in breezy conditions and Upton head coach Oli Banwell decided to use this cup clash to once again experiment with more important league games in mind.
Rob Heeley, Jason Smart and Tom Dodge were all rotated to the bench with Alex Flower starting in his unusual position of open-side flanker.
Lutterworth started the game strongly using their large pack to push forward.
However, the theme of the game was set early on with Upton’s defence from the first to the last minute being nothing more than immense.
After absorbing Lutterworth’s initial charges, Upton started to use their pacey backs to move the visitors around.
Teenagers Oli Cooke and Joe Ayres, at full-back and wing respectively, were a constant thorn in their opposition’s side as it seemed every time they could not cope with their pace as they constantly rounded the first if not second tackle.
It was from a counter-attack from the back three that Upton opened the scoring.
Cooke ran the ball back from just inside his own half after a failed clearance and Ayres, Rich Jeynes and Alex Pimlow linked to take it forward.
After being held up two metres from the line, Upton recycled blind and back row Liam Moloney was on hand to barrel his way over for a try. Chris O’Neil missed the conversion to make it 5-0.
Lutterworth stuck to their game plan of charges through the forwards and got their own score after recycling a number of times and moving the ball right for the full-back to slip the last tackle to score. The conversion went in off the crossbar.
Lutterworth extended their lead before half-time with a penalty to make it 10-5 at the break.
Heeley came on for Charlie Abbey at the interval and immediately the scrums were more stable.
However, with the wind against them Upton faced 30 minutes of non-stop defence with the majority of the time spent within five metres of their line.
Time and again Lutterworth attacked but Upton’s defence, led by skipper Matthew Cock, performed well and he put in some hits around the fringes.
With 12 minutes remaining, Lutterworth were inches from Upton’s line but as they carefully planned their next move, Heeley asked the referee if the ball was out and the official agreed so he stole the ball, popped it to Dodge who quickly fed the backs.
The move soon found its way to scrum-half Pimlow and, from at least 50 metres, the veteran scrum-half weaved through around five tackles before sprinting for an equalising try. The conversion was missed so the scores were level at 10-10 with 10 minutes left.
Then, with extra-time in sight, the hosts were dealt two hammer blows.
Firstly, second row Guy Field left the field injured and, with no substitutes left, Upton were down to 14. Then it was 13 when fellow second row Smart was sent to the sin-bin for coming into the side of a maul.
This meant Upton’s heroic defensive stance would be tested to the limit.
With five minutes left Lutterworth crossed for their second try to make it 15-10. They missed the conversion but secured the win with a penalty with the last kick of the game.