Sutton & Epsom 17-19 Dorking
These two sides had not met in the league since the 2009-10 season. The subsequent years had seen Dorking enjoying a period of considerable success. Sutton’s promotion and the Brockham club’s relegation last season threw the teams together for this eagerly anticipated contest.
With only points difference separating the teams at the start of the day it was always going to be a close and tense affair. The visitors claimed a slender 19-17 win to condemn the hosts to a fourth straight defeat.
Dorking caught S&E cold with their first attack as a probing kick was regathered the defence failed to reorganise and the overlap was exploited. Cameron Osborne touched down in the corner and Matt Noble added the extras for a 7-0 lead. The Black & Whites attempt to gain parity was hampered by frequently being penalised at the scrum. After a spell of pressure the Rugby Lane crowd were rewarded with a try from Andy Matthews which Steve Munford converted. Within five minutes the home crowd were applauding a second try. Jamie See’s clearance kick to the halfway line bounced fortuitously into the hands of Kyren Ghumra who outpaced the cover to score. Another Munford conversion saw Sutton & Epsom lead their Surrey rivals 14-7 after 20 minutes.
The hosts failed to add to their tally in the first half despite ample possession no clear cut scoring opportunities were created. The turning point of the game came as the match entered time added on before the interval. Felix Symonds was awarded a red card and a Dorking player was awarded a yellow. This naturally altered the balance of the contest. The considerable amount of additional first-half stoppage time was completed without further scoring.
To add to S&E’s task an infringement early in the second half saw a yellow card produced to reduce Sutton to 13 men. Remarkably it was the hosts who were the next to score. A long range penalty from Steve Munford extended the lead to 17-7. In the final minute of the sin bin with the two-man advantage the visitors made their numerical superiority count as Joseph Mogaji’s powerful run saw him score. Matt Noble failed to convert but the lead had been reduced to 17-12. A couple of minutes later saw another significant moment in this contest. Steve Munford who had been having an excellent match was forced to leave the field with a bloody nose and was unable to take any further part in the game. Not only did the hosts lose their influential scrum-half but also their place-kicker. A couple of minutes later the Brockham club again exploited their advantage down the left flank to score. This time Matt Noble made no mistake as his team regained the lead 19-17.
Indiscipline nearly scuppered Dorking’s chances as they incurred the wrath of the referee to collect their second yellow card of the day. Buoyed by numerical parity the Rugby Lane team rallied and forced their opponents onto the defensive. During this phase Matt Noble’s astute kicking from hand and tactical play made sure the former National 2 side kept their lead. The game concluded with no addition to the score. The narrow 19-17 win sees Dorking go above Sutton & Epsom in the league table whilst the host gained a solitary bonus point.
Ultimately this was a frustrating day for the Black & Whites. Having to play more than half the game with 14 is not usually a recipe for success and this was to prove the case on this occasion. For the fourth match on the trot Sutton have come second best in close and competitive contests. Next Saturday, 5th November, they travel to high-flying Westcombe Park in search of a much needed victory.
Sutton & Epsom team: Angus McCurdie, Kyren Ghumra, James Fa’aatuatu, Andy Matthews, Ian Knott, Jamie See, Steve Munford, Raynn Bruce, Seb Bonizzi, Craig Bellringer, Matt Harwood, Felix Symonds, James Colclough, George London, James Caddy (capt). Replacements (all used): Cezar Ionica, Shiv Patel & David Watts.
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