by John Ashton
Sutton & Epsom RFC recorded their first opening day win in more than five years prevailing over local rivals Effingham & Leatherhead in a physical encounter at Rugby Lane.
Tries from from former Esher man Shawn Renwick and Michael Cartledge, with a conversion and penalty by Steve Warnham, sealed a 15-10 win to kick start Sutton's London Two South West Division campaign.
In near perfect conditions, Sutton had the better of the early exchanges and should have taken the lead following a fluid backs move only for the final pass to be dropped.
So it was against the run of play when the Eagles took an early lead following a Sutton offence at the breakdown, stand-off Brian Collins slotting a penalty from the 10m line.
The remainder of the half saw both sides trying to play running Rugby but too often the skill level did not match the ambition.
However, on one occasion it did pay off for Sutton when they were able to move the ball rapidly up field from a turnover that resulted in a 5m scrum.
From the resulting scrum, new number 8 Renwick was able to power over.
The second half saw Sutton dominate the early play but poor finishing cost them the opportunity to extend their lead.
The try their play did deserve came when a fortuitous bounce off an Effingham player allowed winger Cartledge to streak over.
Sutton extended their lead shortly afterwards when kicker Warnham slotted a penalty.
They could not add any further points and a late try from the Eagles closed the gap to five points setting up a nervy period of injury time.
Last season, Sutton would could not close out similar positions but this new-look team are stronger and the closing minutes passed without incident.
Sutton continue their season with a trip to Guildford on Saturday.