Sutton & Epsom 71 – 5 Twickenham
On a cold afternoon at Rugby Lane the crowd were given ample entertainment to keep them warm as Sutton ran up their best score of the season to defeat Twickenham 71-5. It was a fitting end to a magnificent campaign that has seen the Black & Whites win the London One South title by 14 points from nearest rivals Guildford.
A large crowd did not have to wait long to salute their champions. After 5 minutes top try scorer Matt Whitaker sped in from a 5 metre scrum. It was the start of a first-half onslaught that delighted the home supporters. The next score was a wonderful move started deep in the Sutton 22. A long pass to Dave Cook saw him counter at pace to release Sal Bell who weaved in and out to race 60 metres to score.
The brothers Matthews then added a brace of tries. Andy powered over from close range in familiar fashion but elder brother Pete’s try was in a different class. From the restart S&E countered through Matt Whitaker and a series of offloads more suited to a basketball court swept the Champions the length of the pitch for Pete Matthews to apply the finishing touch.
24 points in as many minutes was champagne rugby indeed. And there was to be no let up as a couple of minutes later Kyren Ghumra swept in to score following more exquisite handling. The first half ended with a try fashioned by the pack who delivered Seb Bonizzi over the line. 38-0 at the interval with six tries from six different players with Steve Munford adding four conversions was celebratory rugby at its best.
No one would have begrudged already relegated Twickenham if they had offered token resistance in the second period. This was not to be the case as they demonstrated great character, determination and plenty of flair through their excellent fly-half Jamie See. Indeed they dominated the third quarter and deservedly scored a try in the corner fifteen minutes into the half.
That appeared to wake Sutton from their slumber and error-strewn start to the half. Kyren Ghumra pounced on a loose ball to show the visitors a clean pair of heels. The home pack assaulted the try line and James Bennett was on hand to touch down. The momentum had swung back in favour of the Rugby Lane team and fortune favoured them as Kyren Ghumra completed his hat trick with an interception try. Steve Munford added a tenth try from a quick tap penalty.
There was still time for another well-worked passing movement that was rounded off by Dave Cook. Ollie Clements added four conversions to boost the score to 71 points, a season’s best for the league winners.
It was a fitting end to a wonderful season that has seen the team gain promotion to the National Leagues. The success has been built on outstanding defence, free-flowing rugby that has garnered well over a hundred tries and exceptional team work.
Much credit should go to the coaches Lee Cholewa and Jeff Parsons who have won two promotions in four seasons. The club will meet the challenge of the higher level in 2016-17 on the back of one of their finest seasons in the era of league rugby.
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