By Peter Upton
Warlingham are celebrating after a fine 17-8 win over Sutton & Epsom sent them into the second round of the RFU Intermediate Cup on Saturday.
And skipper Zack King could not hide his delight, saying: "It's a great result. We knew Sutton & Epsom would be a strong opposition but the pack are becoming a tight unit and all our training is just now showing through."
Despite being unfancied, Warlingham, facing opposition from the top of London Division Two South West, were in confident mood after beating their London Division Two South East leaders last week.
And they started strongly, although fly half Oli Doe missed a two-minute penalty but, with their visitors putting three defending kicks out on the full,
Warlingham were able to keep the pressure on.
A speculative kick ahead by Sutton & Epsom gave home winger Bradley Saffery some trouble and, when penalised, Sutton put the kick into touch for a five metre lineout.
A swift miss-move in the midfield gave their winger some space and he duly dotted down over the whitewash for the first score - the difficult conversion was missed.
Warlingham's pack came strong, with captain Zack King and number eight Tom Skinner prominent, causing the visitors to infringe with monotonous regularity.
Eventually the referee, Oliver Munn, showed a Sutton lock the yellow card for persistent malpractice and from the penalty Doe put his pack deep into the opposition 22 metre zone.
Skinner took the lineout ball, was driven forward and powered over for the equaliser, while Doe kicked the conversion.
When centre Ben Wimble made good ground through the centre a high tackle was rewarded by a second yellow card to a Sutton flanker and Doe further punished Sutton with a successful penalty kick.
The first half ended shortly after a scintillating incursion into the Warlingham back line by full back Joe McEvoy, which was snuffed out by some desperate tackling by Sutton loose forwards.
Sutton resumed the second half with renewed vigour and had a brief spell in the Warlingham half, resulting in an easy penalty kick to bring them within two points.
Not to be outdone, the Warlingham pack regrouped and showed some excellent pick and drive rugby in the inclement weather.
Sutton were on the rack, with their pack back-peddling at a fast rate of knots, and this forward momentum spurred Warlingham who were committed to hammering mauls in the Sutton danger area.
After several forward drives, lock James Delderfield was jubilant as he shrugged off defenders to score the second try. Again Doe kicked a difficult conversion leaving Sutton to play catch-up rugby.
Now it was Warlingham's turn to defend and hooker Dan Street became was the third player to see yellow from the referee.
Sutton looked to be in the ascendancy, putting together some nifty phases of play.
Unfortunately for them, Delderfield put a stop to any thoughts of a Sutton resurgence with a mighty tackle on a hapless Sutton player who was a long time getting to his feet.
In the end, Warlingham hung on for a well-deserved win.
Next Saturday, they resume their league campaign when they travel to Crowborough.
Meanwhile, Sutton & Epsom will host Tottonians this weekend in the London Division Two South West.