Dorking 2nd/3rd combined XV 50 – 12 Sutton & Epsom 2nd/3rd/4th combined XV
14th March 2020
The world has gone mad. Rightly so, but never have I seen anything so completely bonkers. Six Nations games postponed for the first time since 2002, the Premier League on hiatus until who knows when, US sports that most people weren’t aware were even being played halted immediately. So, it seemed only right to provide those sports junkies with something to scratch that almost insatiable itch.
A healthy Dorking squad made up of a perfectly balanced blend of youth, experience, and further experience in the shape of Wolfy who had a birthday jaunt to Italy curtailed by the cursed COVID-19 and so decided to come and take his frustrations out on the unfortunate opposition.
Sadly, Sutton & Epsom were not in such rude health and were only able to muster 14 out of some 100+ players contacted so the game began with 14-a-side. To throw a further cat amongst those 28 pigeons, the sun even decided to make an appearance which seemed to have more of a distraction on the Dorking side than their counterparts in black and white as, after a strong opening with a powerful break from Tom Budd (not to be his last of the game), Dorking looked to have numbers on the way back but, lacking depth, the ball was picked off by a very pacey Sutton outside back and taken in under the posts from 55 out to give Sutton a 0-7 head start to the game.
The Dorking pack was by far the more experienced unit, however, credit to Sutton who, following a Dorking offside from the restart, opted for a scrum on the centre spot. Holding their own, their lightning scrum half managed to get on the outside of the Dorking back row before a cute nudge through to a vacant backfield due to the reduced numbers allowed him to use his pace and dot down to make it 0-12 and leave Dorking looking a little shell-shocked.
We have seen in years past, Dorking sides of all levels facing such adversity have sometimes lost interest at these points, capitulating and letting heads drop, however that has not been the case this year. No toys were launched from prams, no character assassinations, no hissy fits. A quick appraisal and something of a “let’s get back to what works” and it was not long before this came to fruition.
Dorking managed to get great lineout ball from inside Sutton’s half, working their way to the other touchline and then allowing the forwards to carry and dominate the collisions, working their way ever closer to the Sutton try-line and it wasn’t long before a glimpse of an opening appeared and the hugely impressive young scrum half, Ben McKenzie, went himself from a metre out to get Dorking’s first points on the board and making it 5-12.
Shortly after, Dorking maintained parity in the scrum which provided a lovely break as Ali Sharbani took a switch off Tommy Hunter coming back against the grain, carving through the middle of their defence to take Dorking up past midfield. The following phase, Tommy Hunter puts a deft low chip through in behind the Sutton backline which stuck in a tacky part of the pitch allowing Tom Budd to pick up and almost get over the whitewash himself only to be pulled down agonisingly short. However, Dorking had chased better than the Sutton D and it was a quick supply to hooker, Benji Wroblewski to step the covering defender and waltz in under the posts for his first of the day.
By this point, Sutton had to drop to 13 players due to injury and the Dorking pack started to take the ascendancy. Strong carries from the likes of Tom Chave, Jake Dobson, Ted Carey combined with the subtleties of hands from Jonny Ellis, Joe Scott and Max Sheldrake allowed the Dorking backs to make the most of the extra shape on the field and Dorking would have scored another had Chave not been too preoccupied with his celebration to dot the ball down over the line, dropping his lollies three metres out with nothing but green grass and try-scoring glory ahead of him.
By halftime, Dorking had secured a lead thanks to Cam Osbourne hitting a wonderful line to go in from about half-way for the first of a couple for him. The second half became more of a procession and tries from another impressive youngster, Freddie Fownes-Walpole, skipper, Jake Dobson, Will Botteril and another from Cam Osbourne meant the day ended with a convincing 50-12 scoreline in Dorking’s favour.
Man of the Match went to Ben McKenzie who showed incredible composure to boss such a senior pack around the park with honourable mentions to that pack, the aforementioned Freddie Fownes-Walpole, Lewis Wright who came on to make his DRFC debut, and Tommy Hunter, playing his first game at 10 for a while and looking assured and composed throughout.
Team: 1. Joe Scott 2. Benji Wroblewski 3. Max Sheldrake 4. Ted Carey 5. Jake Dobson (c) 6. Jonny Ellis 7. Daragh Chambers 8. Tom Chave 9. Ben McKenzie 10. Tommy Hunter 11. Tom Budd 12. Ali Sharbani 13. Freddie Fownes-Walpole 14. Cam Osbourne SUBS: Tom Beal; Scott Killick; Joshua Griffiths; Scott Killick; Ben Puttick; Sam Crook; Lewis Wright; Will Botteril