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Surrey 17 pts v Eastern Counties 3 pts

Having won the third tier of the County Championship for three years on the trot Surrey were promoted this season to the second tier.

Amazingly having amassed over 120 points in gaining two outstanding victories in their first two games, Surrey stuttered and nearly threw away a 21-9 half time lead against Devon, before securing a narrow victory. So once again it was off to what is beginning to feel like Surrey’s second home – HQ, Twickenham.
Surrey had to face a strong and also previously unbeaten side this season, Eastern Counties.
The large Eastern Counties pack continually drove into the opposition, in an effort to gain yardage, but Surrey’s well organised and stern defences held firm. Gradually Surrey began to win more possession and as usual they looked to have more of a cutting edge than their determined opponents. After a period of some slick handling by the backs, wing Mike Terelak broke away for Surrey’s first try. Centre Matt Noble added the conversion and they eased 7-0 ahead.
Counties then made some early changes to personnel and shortly afterwards full back Ben Stokes kicked a penalty goal to bring the score to 7-3.
Surrey also then began to introduce some of their replacements into the action, as prop Seun Olayanju and back row forward Harry Watts entered the fray. Then a superb piece of individual skill and awareness, saw Surrey scrum half Will Crow – who has just been selected for England Counties – burst away and zig zag his way to the line for an outstanding try. Once again Noble stepped up to add the conversion and newly promoted Surrey were in the driving seat and half time arrived with them 14-3 in front.
The second half began with even more changes and Eastern Counties tried to play a very tight driving game to suck the opposition in and then release some swift ball for their backs. Nevertheless, Surrey were having none of it and the game reached somewhat of a stalemate for quite a while. Surrey’s pack began to strangle their Counties counterparts and they won a series of penalties as Counties kept dropping the scrums. Surrey resisted the temptation to attempt to kick a few penalty goals as captain Armand Roux who has been both a great leader and an astute talisman throughout this campaign, tightened the screw and continually forced Counties into a series of scrums.
Matt Noble added another penalty goal and Surrey were home and convincing winners.
Now having been promoted two years running, Surrey will next season potentially be locking horns at the very highest level of the competition against the likes of Gloucestershire, Cornwall and Lancashire.
Finally, Head Coach Ritchie Andrews and his team of coaches, medical staff and managers must be congratulated for their outstanding achievements over the past few seasons and Dorking RFC and London Irish Amateur RFC must be applauded for providing the nucleus of the squad.
Well done and roll on next season.
Surrey: 15 Matt Betty (East Grinstead RFC), 14 Mike Terelak (Dorking RFC), 13 Matt Noble (Dorking RFC), 12 Ed Carne (Dorking RFC), 11 James Faaatuatu (East Grinstead RFC), 10 Cameron Pimlow (Dorking RFC), 9 Will Crow (Dorking RFC), 1 Ben Knight (Dorking RFC), 2 James Catton (Dorking RFC), 3 Richard Nunn (Dorking RFC), 4 Armand Roux (CAPTAIN)(Dorking RFC), 5 Elliot Awain (Dorking RFC), 6 Oli Edwards (Dorking RFC) , 7 Harry Elbrow (Esher RFC), 8 Ted Lee (Dorking RFC)
Replacements: 16 Sam Johnson (Dorking RFC), 17 Seun Olayanju (Dorking RFC), 18 Nick Haigh (Dorking RFC), 19 Harry Watts (Dorking RFC), 20 Tom Eastham (London Irish Amateur RFC), 21 Oli Turner (London Irish Amateur RFC), 22 Sean Cunningham (London Irish Amateur RFC)
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