Sutton and Epsom 8, Hertford 39
Match report received from Paul Chesterman:
You would have thought an emphatic bonus point win would be music to the ears of Hertford’s director of rugby Kanwaijit Basra, but no so as he launched a stinging attack on his team’s various first half shortcomings.
Tries from Rory Seymour
, Chris Joyce, Mike Allan, Dave Archer, Sean Taylor, Sam Walker
plus a penalty from the boot of Ben Creasey secured the victory.
With news filtering thought that Westcliff, who Hertford face this weekend, lost, it means the Hoe Lane side would be just two points off a play-off spot if they win that all important game in hand.
“To be honest I wasn’t very happy with the first half display in terms of game management,” said Basra.
“We defended for 15 minutes and kept them out of our line and then decided to tap and go by our posts.
“I know we want to score tries but you kick deep to the halfway line and use ball from the lineout.
“We want to play with ambition and run the ball but in the right areas.
“Because we’re playing with ambition that’s our style, we are going to make mistakes at times.
“We need to score four tries every game and score five points every week. That’s fine but at times the game management was poor.
“We addressed that at half-time. We wanted to get Sam Walker
on the pitch so we switched Joe Stockwell
to scrum half, Ben Creasey was doing okay.
“Defensively I thought we were very good. But needed to stick your procedures and patterns and the rest will come.
“The second half was much better, but if we want to go to Westcliff and win we need to start our first 40 minutes like we finished the second 40 minutes.
“If we don’t do that we’ll lose because they are strong at home and will have a good crowd up there.
“We need to be on it from the start – I asked for that this week and it didn’t happen.
“The players need to start focusing on Westcliff now – we’ve talked about that game already.”
Considering the heavy rain the Sutton pitch held up very well and allowed for an entertaining game with plenty of expansive rugby, especially from an attack minded Hertford side.
Creasey slotted over a penalty in the 10th minute to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.
Two minutes later Sam Hurley levelled with a fine strike after Hertford infringed following the re-start.
Hertford went 8-3 ahead in the 16th minute when some neat interplay between the busy Seymour and an equally sparky Stockwell allowed the latter to dart through the middle and score under the posts.
Creasey converted for a 10-3 advantage.
Sutton kept possession well for the next period of play, marching into Hertford territory until they closed in on the 5m line.
They were initially held up but, from the next attack, number eight Matt Whitaker barrelled his way over for the score. The extras were missed but the hosts narrowed the gap to 10-8.
Those were to be their last points of the game, despite piling on the pressure as the half hour mark approached and working their way to the red zone, where Hertford’s solid defence once again held them up.
The visitors forced a knock on and Sutton lost their momentum, with a burst from Aaron Lowe further easing the pressure.
Hertford finished the half with a flourish.
Following several phases and the ball going through hands spreading across the width of the pitch with full back Sean Taylor passing to Stockwell who found hooker Chris Joyce in the right corner to go over for a well worked score.
If Basra had been critical of the first half display there was plenty to admire in a second half which saw Hertford run Sutton ragged.
The hosts made a bright enough start, but a huge clearing kick by Seymour saw Hertford back in opposition territory where they were to remain camped for the remainder of the half.
After winning the lineout, Richard Streets
made good yards up the middle, setting up Seymour to find Stockell, who in turn passed to Creasey.
A final off load saw Allan finish off a great team try wide on the left, converted by Creasey for a 22-8 lead.
With Hertford spreading the ball well on both flanks, and stringing together the phases, the bonus point try came from replacement and veteran Dave Archer, who touched down for a pushover score.
There was no stopping Hertford now and Sutton hardly got a sniff of the ball as the visitors added two further scores from Taylor and Walker to round off a satisfying win.