There can be no complaints from Sleaford Under 17s as their unbeaten record came to an end at Silhillians RFC who themselves had only lost once in the last two years.
Top spot in the NLD league had qualified Sleaford through to the Midland Quarter Finals of the National Under 17 Cup and the trip to Silhillians RFC, south of Birmingham.
The early exchanges were even and encouraging for the visitors with Sean Bishop following up his own kick with a crunching tackle on his opposite number and the pack jostling for dominance over their opponents. However, seven minutes into the match Silhillians turned over Sleaford ball in the centre of the pitch and the first signs of how dangerous their fluent backline was evident. Given too much room they found gaps with ease and ran in for the first score.
At this point there was a shift in supremacy with the home side growing in confidence and looking to attack at every opportunity. It was important that Sleaford dug in deep but too often they lost the ball in the tackle, couldn’t find the breaks that had been available in previous matches and generally were second best.
A second try for Silhillians was quickly followed by a third immediately after the re-start and the floodgates looked to have opened. Ian Bishop made a useful break following an interception only to be well tackled and then did likewise to the home side’s flanker when he looked through to score.
Good skills again from Silhillians, saw another try before the No 8 picked up from a five metre scrum and went over for another. Found wanting in every department, a sixth try against Sleaford just prior to half-time saw a 38-0 deficit. A few harsh words and a different work ethic saw a vastly improved Red and Black performance in the second-half. They had most of the territorial advantage and pressed hard. The home side conceded a series of penalties the last of which saw Rhys Thomson go over in the corner for a deserved score. Sleaford were much more committed. Mike Resoli left the field with an ankle injury and it was Josh Brown who moved into flanker who started the move which saw Ben Borrill make a strong run to the line for surprisingly his first try of the season.
In one of the few forays into Sleaford’s half Silhillians still had time to show their class and went over for their last try and a final score of 43-12. A disappointing result from Sleaford’s point of view but they redeemed themselves with a much better second-half performance having been completely outclassed by an extremely skilful and competent Silhillians side.
Squad: Craig Anderson, Andrew Baxter, Ian Bishop, Sean Bishop, Ben Borrill, Josh Brown, Ross Chambers, Dan Cooper, Sandy Ireland, Keegan King, Ashley Miller, Adam Peek, Mike Risoli, Peter Rowlands, Charlie Swan, Callum Thomson, Rhys Thomson, David Titmus.