County Championship Match Report
Hertfordshire 31pts v Surrey 28pts
Surrey’s success in the senior County Championship over the past few years has seen them climb from the lowest tier of County Rugby to the very highest in Division One and thereby become an almost a permanent fixture in the finals at Twickenham, where they have regularly come home smiling with the silverware.
Without doubt, this season will really test the resolves of the County and prove just how far we have progressed.
So the latest Championship began with a visit to Hertfordshire and a chance to sample the amazing new facilities on offer at Old Albanians RFC –the training ground used by Saracens RFC on the outskirts of St Albans.
Herts who had won this competition as recently as 2012, like Surrey were forced to make several late changes to the team and this meant both sides would take time to iron out some of the creases and settle down.
Tom Banks, the lively Herts scrum half opened the scoring when he tore over for the first try, which fly half Josh Sharp converted to ease the home side 7-0 ahead. Surrey quickly bounced back when full back Ollie Turner kicked a penalty goal. After 17 minutes Surrey prop Cameron Zeiss was shown a yellow card for a scrum infringement. Herts took immediate advantage of the extra man, when winger George Elliott scored a try, which Sharp again converted.
Additionally, Surrey were also hard hit by injuries when flanker Steve May and wing Benji Marfo both had to retire early.
Surrey were now beginning to put some good phases of rugby together and only stout defence or the final pass going astray, prevented Surrey crossing the whitewash. Then having hacked on a loose ball and sprinting clear, only an awkward bounce prevented Turner scoring for the visitors under the posts. Ollie Turner then did add a penalty goal for Surrey.
With the interval approaching Surrey second row and Captain Ian Kench touched down and Turner added the conversion to bring the half time score to 14- 13 in favour of Herts.
As the changes rung on both sides, Surrey began to look more menacing and Darren Livett scored a try, while Turner added the conversion to put Surrey in the lead for the first time. Banks then skipped over for his second try for the home side, which was converted to put Herts ahead by one point.
Turner then slotted over another penalty and winger Karyim Irving sped over in the corner to ease the visitors into a 28- 21 score line for Surrey.
The home side now threw everything at Surrey and after several nice touches from Herts replacement centre Anthony Makka, he waltzed over for a try and another conversion brought the scores level at 28-28. An injury time penalty from Sharp then snatched a very narrow victory for Herts.
** So it was onto the second fixture against Gloucestershire at the London Irish Wild Geese Ground at Hazelwood, on Saturday May 14th Kick Off 2.00 p.m.
Surrey: 15 Ollie Turner (L.Irish WG), 14 Benji Marfo (Dorking ), 13 Ryan Jeffery (Dorking), 12 Sean Cunningham (L.Irish WG), 11 Karyim Irving (Dorking),10 Cameron Pimlow (Dorking), 9 Will Crow (Rosslyn Park), 1 Charlie Connor ( L Irish WG), 2 Matt Cornish (L.Irish WG), 3 Cameron Zeiss (Esher), 4 Ian Kench (Captain – Esher),5 Matt Higgins (Dorking), 6 Steve May(Wimbledon), 7 Harry Elbrow (Dorking), 8 Darren Livett ( L.Irish WG)
Replacements: 16 James Catton (Dorking), 17 Souew Obano (Dorking), 18 Eamonn Atkinson (L.Irish WG),19 James Hunt (Wimbledon), 20 Rhys Morgan (Wimbledon), 21 Tom Richards (L.Irish WG), 22 Ed Carne (Dorking)