Sutton & Epsom 22-7 Guildford
Back in September the 2nd XV started their league campaign with a bonus point 27-3 win over Guildford at Broadwater. As is the fluid nature of 2nd XV rugby only 5 players who started in the opening match were on the pitch for the kick off in this reverse fixture as the Black & Whites fielded a back division full of players with plenty of 1st XV league rugby experience. With such a pedigree expectations were high. Ultimately another five points were garnered in their league campaign with a 22-7 victory but there was a sense of frustration that the winning margin was not more comprehensive.
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Sutton & Epsom had a fine start to the game after fine work by Joe Ridgley set up Andy Matthews who shrugged off several attempted tackles to score on his comeback from injury. However, with the benefit of the slope Guildford enjoyed a period of possession and territory which tested the hosts defensive resolve. But when Sutton regained the initiative they were frequently their own worst enemy during the first period as they failed to translate plentiful possession with points on the scoreboard. There was only one additional try in the half when good handling gave Kyren Ghumra time and space to demonstrate his clinical quicksilver finishing. Other attacks were undone by poor passes, overrunning the ball or simply failing to pass the ball to supporting runners in open space. Indeed the Farncombe-based side were probably unlucky that late in the half the hosts who conceded a flurry of penalties in defence were surprisingly not punished with a yellow card.
Turning around 10-0 to the good and with the slope in their favour expectations were high amongst the sizeable crowd that S&E would complete a comprehensive victory. The highlight of the game was Sam Hurley’s magnificent try. From a line out ball near the halfway the backs created space for Kyren Ghumra and Sam Hurley to interchange passes with the full back touching down for a wonderful score. The only other try and the one that earned the bonus point came from a nonchalant Harry Jones dummy for the fly-half to cross the whitewash. The scoreline might have been more representative of Sutton’s superiority if the game had not deteriorated as Guildford concentrated on disrupting play by any means possible. The refereeing at the breakdown was inconsistent, there were frequent stoppages for a plethora of injuries to the visitors and the contest became fractious. The Black & Whites should be commended for maintaining discipline in very testing conditions. To add to the frustration Andy King did cross the line but his try was mysteriously disallowed. In the end the visitors scored a consolation try with the last play of the game.
A special mention to Felix Symonds who suffered a dislocated and fractured shoulder when he was tackled after a typical surging run. We wish him a speedy recovery. The campaign continues next Saturday 14th January with a tough fixture against Tonbridge Juddians who defeated Sutton in December. With the 1st XV away in distant Colchester local rugby supporters will be most welcome at Rugby Lane for this top of the table clash kicking off at 2pm. It promises to be an enthralling contest with the Black & Whites determined to gain revenge for the earlier loss.