• Sutton lose a very tight game away at Westcliff... final score 8-21...
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1st XV

Director of Rugby
Jeff Parsons
07853 882127

John Croysdill
07852 487798

Head Coach
Mike Schmid
07590 258851

Coaching team
Paul Hodgson
James Matthews (S&C)

James Caddy

Latest Match Report

Westcliff Lay the Ghost on Recent Encounters
Westcliff 21-8 Sutton & Epsom
These two clubs enjoyed spectacular success last season with Sutton taking the title and Westcliff gaining promotion via a thumping play-off win against Barnstaple. This season, playing at the highest level in the league structure in their histories, both clubs have found it challenging. For the hosts it was the first of trio matches on the bounce against the threatened three in the relegation zone: Sutton & Epsom; Old Redcliffians and Bournemouth. Played at the splendid new facilities at The Gables on an afternoon with a biting wind blowing across the pitch the crowd approaching 300 eagerly awaited the latest instalment of this recent rivalry. For the Essex supporters the sight of Sutton has been rather traumatic as S&E have rivalled the best efforts of Erik Weisz in escaping with a hat trick of wins from losing positions in the last three meetings.

Westcliff kicked off and an evenly contested first-half was under way. The Black & Whites gave debuts to Luke James on the open side and Caolan Englefield at scrum-half. Though the latter did come off the bench against Bournemouth in the game that has now been officially expunged and will be replayed on 22nd February. In the opening ten minutes the hosts pressed hard for an early score with their powerful Number 8, Jim Smith, to the fore. Caolan Englefield impressed from the outset with excellent box kicks and a superb clearance after a mark. Just before the quarter hour the Westcliff pack established themselves in prime position under the posts. Not for the first time in a career of 124 appearances Jim Smith muscled his way over to break the deadlock. Jack Jones added the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

Matt Whitaker, having collected his hundredth league try the previous Saturday against Old Albanian, led the riposte. The Sutton eight picked up from the base of the scrum near halfway and set off on and arcing run. It spread wide and Aaron Phillip broke through but the ball was bundled into touch 5 metres short as Kyren Ghumra tried to gather it. From the Sutton line out there was a passage of play where the S&E pack asked every question of the formidable Westcliff defence. The ball inched forward, shifted towards the uprights crossed the line and was driven back. After numerous carries the Rugby Lane team were awarded a scrum under the posts. The front row popped up and the Gables men were giving the relief of a penalty. Moments later Matt Whitaker raced clear from a scrum and linking with the ubiquitous Luke James returned Sutton to the home 22 only for another penalty to offer an escape route.

Just after the half-hour Sutton lost Andy Ince to a hamstring injury and introduced Sam Collinridge to the second row as Captain George Drye switched to the flank. Meanwhile the Westcliff pack had gained the ascendancy in the set scrum causing severe disruption to the Sutton put in and denying the visitors their customary solid attacking platform. With the interval approaching a splendid kick from Caolan Englefield was followed up by Kyren Ghumra who forced a penalty. Jacob Knight, distracted by the buffeting crosswind, failed to convert. The referee soon brought proceedings to a close and the players retreated to the warmth of the dressing rooms for the half-time break. The hosts held a 7-0 lead after a fiercely contested first half and hoped that their scrummaging success would continue into the second period and provide them with opportunities to extend their lead. Meanwhile the visitors hoped to stabilise the scrum, increase the tempo and convert pressure into points.

Raynn Bruce replaced Alex Mount for the second half as S&E re-started proceedings. The Black & Whites started magnificently with Aaron Phillip carrying aggressively. The forwards took the ball on and a retreating Westcliff defence conceded a penalty in front of the posts. Jacob Knight’s penalty put Sutton on the scoreboard as they trailed 3-7. Sutton continued to play well, with greater pace as forwards and backs combined. Having earned a line out deep in the host’s 22 a needless free kick was conceded. The men from Aviation Way tapped, broke out of their 22 and Myles Bean raced away down the flank. By the time Sutton defence had halted the counter they were five metres from their own line. The Essex team failed to capitalise from the favourable position but they had demonstrated what a danger their backs were if given space.

Five minutes later it was the Surrey men, having replaced Chris Farrell with Mike Mbaud, who were attacking in thrilling style. Once more initiated by Matt Whitaker a Stefan Cooksammy kick to the line had Westcliff under pressure but their calm defence cleared to the 22. Sutton then did their cause no good with a very unnecessary yellow card for a high tackle after knocking on. Down to 14 men they raised their game as Aaron Phillip broke down one flank. The ball came back to the opposite side Stefan Cooksammy interchanged passes with Matt Whitaker and was only halted by a tap tackle as he set off for the line. Caolan Englefield followed up only to be cut down by a high tackle. Now it was numerically even at 14 apiece. The penalty was kicked to the corner. A catch and drive saw Theo Skoumbourdis held up over the line. From the 5-metre scrum Matt Whitaker carried to the line and the ball was recycled for Mike Mbaud to touchdown for his first S&E score.

The jubilation of the 8-7 lead barely lasted a couple of minutes. Excellent Westcliff back play created a mismatch in the centre of the field as the hosts backs rounded the covering front row. Advancing into the Sutton half the ball was chipped ahead for the wing. The ball bounced perfectly into the hands of the speeding Myles Bean who scored. Jack Jones added the conversion for a 14-8 lead. It was all set up for another grandstand finish. Could Sutton salvage another victory from defeat against The Gables Men? For the home ground their anxiety was released by a curious incident moments later. A speculative kick ahead rolled over the visitors’ line and replacement James Bourton was on hand but Chris Bolton, following up, claimed the try. The referee ruled a score despite his assistant claiming otherwise. Jack Jones added a mightily impressive conversion from the flank. With the score at 21-8 the contest was over. Westcliff saw out the few minutes of time added on to secure a vital victory in their bid for safety.

The 13-point margin was not representative of a hard fought game that could have gone either way. For the victors their set scrum was excellent and for a significant period of the game they disrupted Sutton. Their forwards were also formidable in defence and very combative at the breakdown. The Essex back division tried to exploit the pace and the elusive running of Myles Bean at every opportunity. For Sutton the debutants excelled. Caolan Englefield kicked impressively, cajoled every ounce of effort from the pack and showed maturity in his decision-making. Luke James tackled superbly, ran intelligent lines and was tireless. Matt Whitaker, despite, at times, a retreating pack carried with considerable success and was at the heart of Sutton’s best moments. Aaron Phillip, once more, was the source of penetration for the backs. Ultimately it was the cussed line defence of the hosts in denying the Black & Whites on several key occasions that deserve the plaudits for tipping the balance in this match. Westcliff have won the first of their games against the bottom three and will travel to Old Redcliffians in good heart next Saturday. The Gables supporters will hope that when Bournemouth arrive on the 25th they be will be about to witness a trio of triumphs in their fight for survival. But nothing is predictable in this league.

Next Saturday, 18th January, Sutton play hosts to Clifton. Back in October the two sides shared 10 tries in a monumental match as the Black & Whites recovered from a 21-0 score after twenty minutes to lose 38-31. The match kicks off at 3pm and for those of you of a certain vintage and with a good memory will know that the famous Bristol club used to play Sutton in the 1960s and 1970s, so it is a great pleasure to renew acquaintances after all these years.

Sutton & Epsom: Stefan Cooksammy, Kyren Ghumra, Aaron Phillip, Jamie See, Ellis Rudder, Jacob Knight, Caolan Englefield, Alex Mount, Chris Farrell, Theo Skoumbourdis, Matt Harwood, George Drye (capt), Andy Ince, Luke James, Matt Whitaker. Replacements: Raynn Bruce, Mike Mbaud, Sam Collingridge, James Bourton. Did Not Play: Christian Bottomley.


1st XV

National 2 South

Season 2019-20

Date Competition Opposition Result
7 September League 1st XV v Henley Hawks A L 5-46
14 September League 1st XV v Tonbridge Juddians H L 14-74
21 September League 1st XV v Old Albanian A L 18-43
28 September League 1st XV v Westcliff H W 21-17
5 October League 1st XV v Clifton A L 31-38
12 October League 1st XV v Esher H L 6-38
19 October League 1st XV v Barnes A W 41-25
26 October League 1st XV v Dings Crusaders H L 7-15
2 November League 1st XV v Bury St Edmunds A L 0-33
9 November League 1st XV v Leicester Lions H L 7-23
16 November League 1st XV v Redruth A L 12-49
23 November League 1st XV v Old Redcliffians A D 10-10
30 November League 1st XV v Bournemouth H W 20-15
7 December League 1st XV v Taunton H L 12-15
14 December League 1st XV v Worthing H L 24-30
21 December League 1st XV v Tonbridge Juddians A L 10-83
4 January League 1st XV v Old Albanian H L 22-55
11 January League 1st XV v Westcliff A L 8-21
18 January League 1st XV v Clifton H
25 January League 1st XV v Esher A
1 February League 1st XV v Barnes H
8 February League 1st XV v Dings Crusaders A
15 February League 1st XV v Bury St Edmunds H
29 February League 1st XV v Leicester Lions A
7 March League 1st XV v Redruth H
21 March League 1st XV v Old Redcliffians H
28 March League 1st XV v Bournemouth A
4 April League 1st XV v Taunton A
18 April League 1st XV v Worthing A
25 April League 1st XV v Henley Hawks H
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