Amersham & Chiltern 5 – 32 Sutton & Epsom

Sutton entered the brave New World of National League rugby with a comprehensive win in Buckinghamshire. It was appropriate that as Champions of London One South they should face the Champions of London One North in the season opener. It was the Southern title holders that returned home with the spoils.

The Black & Whites started strongly dominating territory and possession. With forwards and backs combining intelligently the visitors looked the sharper team in the opening exchanges. Matt Harwood was stopped agonisingly close to the line before S&E opened the scoring. Following sustained pressure debutant James Fa’aatuatu finished with aplomb from close range.

Sam Hurley added the extras with a tricky conversion. A well struck Hurley penalty extended the lead before George London sprinted in from 20 yards under the posts. 25 minutes into the game and Sutton & Epsom were 17 points to the good. Andy Matthews was denied a score by a tap tackle when he seemed destined to finish. Sam Hurley ended the half with another penalty increasing the advantage to 20-0.

Amersham introduced two props from the bench and began the second half with far more purpose despite being punished by another Hurley penalty. The hosts deservedly scored in the corner in the 53rd minute following sustained pressure.
Despite the reinvigorated A & C that was to be their last score. They maintained their dominance in territory and possession as the weather deteriorated. However, the excellent defensive attributes that were noticable last season came to the fore for Sutton & Epsom. Turnovers were made and an interception by Sam Hurley saw him cruelly denied just short of the line having raced from his own 22. He did add another penalty before debutant fly half Jamie See capped a fine performance by adding a drop goal to conclude the scoring in time added on.

This victory will provide a timely boost to the confidence of the Sutton & Epsom squad. An away win in the league opener proving that they can not only survive but thrive in the National Leagues. It was a victory based on excellent fitness, composed discipline and impressive interplay between the forwards and backs. Next Saturday,10th September, Sutton play hosts to local rivals Wimbledon who had an impressive victory over Dorking. It is sure to a fine occasion at Rugby Lane and the Club looks forward to welcoming all-comers for the 3pm kick off.

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