Jersey RFC 45 Sutton & Epsom RFC 0

First published in Rugby Union

This was always going to be a difficult trip for Sutton taking on the might of a basically professional Jersey side containing Tongan international Talite Vaioleti and a host of other players bought in from National Division One.

It is a credit to Sutton’s spirit and defensive organisation that the score did not reach cricket proportions.

The home forwards starved Sutton of any possession turning the Sutton team into a bunch of Aunt Sallys defending against everything Jersey threw at them.

Sutton defended like the 300 Spartans with Captain Steve Munford and vice captain flanker Steve Ebbett at the fore, each putting in well over 20 tackles in the match but like the Spartans they were eventually overwhelmed.

Sutton kicked off and what was to become a pattern in the match saw Jersey second row Jim Brownrigg take the ball cleanly despite the attentions of the chasing Sutton pack and set his backs away.

Play moved swiftly into the Sutton 22 where the visitors were penalised for going over the top at a ruck.

Fortunately for Sutton Jersey’s full back Mike Le Bourgeios missed the posts. Sutton’s luck held when shortly after this the Jersy full back Tom Turner missed a simple drop goal attempt.

Sutton were constantly on the back foot as Jersey unleashed wave after wave of attacks which Sutton defended manfully, their cause not being helped by the loss of flanker Scott Wallbank with a calf injury after 10 minutes. He was replaced by Chris Pointing.

The Jersey onslaught continued with Sutton unable, no matter how they tried to get their hands on the ball as Jersey’s locks Brownrigg and Vaioleti dominated the lineouts and the Jersey pack cleaned up in tight and loose scrums.

Nevertheless Sutton’s obdurate defence kept them scoreless until on 25 minutes a cross kick from full back Turner found left wing Ed Dawson in space. He gathered the ball and touched down under the posts.

Le Bougeois was successful with the conversion to give the home side a 7-0 lead.

The next score from a flowing move saw right wing Charlie Clyde-Smith squeeze in at the corner for an unconverted try.

At this stage it looked as if the floodgates would open but it was not until well into injury time at the break with Sutton’s backs having been sucked into mid-field that Dawson found himself unmarked and scored wide on the left.

Le Bourgeios kicked the conversion for Jersey to lead 19-0 at the break.

There was no change in the second half with Jersey totally dominating possession and Sutton frantically defending.

Jersey went on to score 4 more tries, from flanker Ashley Elphinstone, centre Donovan Saunders, prop Marcus Nobes and replacement Jamie Allan. Le Bourgeois converted three.

Jersey very nearly scored again right at the end of the match, a score which would have put them past the 50 point mark when their hooker Ross Kenwright appeared clear for the line only to be bundled into touch inches short by Sutton’s fly half Frankie Murray.

On Saturday Sutton are at home to local rivals Dorking, so far unbeaten this season, kick off 3pm at Rugby Lane, Cheam. Dorking will be eager to revenge their defeat at the hands of Sutton in last season’s Surrey Cup Final.

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