Sutton & Epsom Colts 2nd XV 12 – 48 Guildford Colts 2nd XV
Sunday 21st January 2024
A determined 2nd XV, which included a number of lads with a point to prove, would not let either the opposition or Storm Isha derail the opening fixture of their campaign. Captain Charlie Seymour was successful at the toss and selected for the team to take on both the wind and the hill in the first half – being (as it was shown rightly) confident that the team could weather any storm both on and off the pitch.
This proved to be an inspired choice with the first try coming from the kickoff with the boys playing around 20 phases before Hamish McInnes crashed over under the posts. This was followed shortly by a second, cleverly worked try, again taken through the phases from kick off, scored by Josh Clapp.
Guildford and S&E then exchanged tries with the Guildford effort being the more notable.
From a defensive scrum on the right within their own 22, the boys correctly selected not to try and kick the ball away but instead drew in the Sutton defence with a strong pick and go carry. The team, observing that Sutton had come narrow to defend, sprung into attack through the quick feet of Josh Clapp and had rounded the corner. An offload to centre Jacob Jones saw another ten metres gained. At the tackle, the ball was popped to Ted Scott who fizzed a flat pass to wing Fergus Atkinson on his own 22. Fergus, in his first competitive game back since injury in pre-season, showed no signs of his time away and ran the ball the length of the rest of pitch to score. Half time and playing into the conditions, Guildford deservedly led 19-12, following a well worked try for S&E from an attacking scrum, the wind making kicking at the posts a difficult proposition for both sides.
As expected, with the slope and the wind, Guildford started strong in the second half and the pressure told with Oli Catt going over for a trademark crash try. 24-12. With credit to Sutton, they remained resolute in defence, despite the widening gap in scores and it would take Guildford almost 20 minutes before their next score, this time, centre Mason Bennett showing both his footwork and tremendous strength. Receiving the ball 15 metres out, Mason ran through and around six defenders before smashing over the line, trailing bodies. 29-12.
This score was the catalyst for three tries in quick succession. Firstly, the second try for Josh Clapp, who, following strong Guildford pressure in defence, ran a strong and clever support line and was in the right place to end a 60m breakaway try. 34-12. From the restart, an athletic, diving “catch and pop” from the floor by prop Ollie James, led to a quick ruck. Scrum half Matt Bennett swiftly released the ball and we were treated to the sight of three forwards displaying good footwork and quick hands to draw the players and shred the defence, with both Arthur Taylor and Alex Ford carrying well. Alex made the telling break before releasing James Richardson to run in unopposed under the posts. 41 -12
The final play of the game came from the next restart with Hamish McInnes bookending the scoring with a superb solo effort. Catching the ball directly on his own 22, Hamish weaved through the tiring S&E players, once again running the ball back to score under the posts. Final score 48-12. In the end a comfortable win for the 2nd XV, helped in part by the ability to take a full set of substitutes. Being able to put out two teams at Colts level is a remarkable achievement and credit not only to the players and coaches but to the parents who have provided unswaying support throughout the season.