A close, exciting game -
- won in the last minute when previously the lead had changed 5 times.
The scores show the difference was 1 penalty. Barnes first try came from a drive from a line-out after forcing two penalties from the opposition. Sutton's came after good retention and recycling in the opposition 22 opened up the defence. Barnes' other three tries came from three-quarter attacks. For Sutton, their forwards set up the platforms for all three and scored two, with a three-quarter finishing the other one. Sutton & Epsom's extra "beef" was probably the real difference between the sides.
The visitors kicked off high; Barnes kept the ball for 5 phases before kicking an up-and-under. Two kicks followed with little recycling in between then Sutton retained for 6 phases, with their no.8 Whitaker making the first threat, before kicking ahead. Barnes went wide and outside centre Adams kicked well forcing the opposition to clear to touch 30 metres from their line. From their line-out the home team's pack kept the ball and advanced to get a penalty 20 metres out and put the ball into touch 10 metres ahead. The drive from the second line-out was forced down then Barnes recycled close 5 times to get another penalty. The third line-out was 5 metres out and from that the forwards drove over, 5 metres from touch, with no. 8 Smyth on the ball at 5 minutes. An excellent conversion from fly-half Coles followed.
Barnes secured the high restart and soon replied with an up-and-under that went out on the full giving Sutton a line-out 16 metres into their opponents' half. From their first line-out they broke through at centre into the 22. After 2 recycles they were awarded a penalty for a high tackle at the 22 in centre field and fullback Hurley kicked the points at 8 minutes.
An error at the restart gave Barnes a scrum 28 metres from the opposition line; from that they kept the ball for 10, almost all close, phases to get a penalty 30 metres out with a small angle at 13 minutes and Coles kicked the points.
Whitaker regained the ball from another high restart by the visitors and made ground. Sutton & Epsom recycled close 3 times before going wide when they advanced well to get to 8 metres out. Five mostly wide recycles and an offload sent outside centre Matthews over at a corner at 16 minutes. The conversion missed.
Sutton replied to the restart with an up-and-under; Barnes kept the ball for 4 close phases before releasing to centre where the ball was dropped. Their pack put pressure on their opponents' scrum 4 metres inside the visitors' half. Sutton got the ball away and recycled 4 times before kicking for territory; Barnes soon cleared to touch 14 metres inside their half. Sutton went wide from the line-out then wide again, advancing to the 22, then with 5 mostly close recycles and an offload they advanced to get a penalty 10 metres out and kicked for a line-out 5 metres ahead. Barnes held the opposition drive before Whitaker broke off to go over closer to the posts after 22 minutes. Hurley added and the visitors had the lead for the first time and by 5 points.
Sutton & Epsom replied to the high restart with an up-and-under; Barnes dealt with this and Coles soon kicked well to touch to the other 22. After the line-out the visitors launched an up-and-under; after 2 close recycles Barnes dropped the ball giving their opponents a scrum at halfway. From that Whitaker made ground before the ball was recycled wide for a greater advance. Sutton then recycled close twice to make more ground then 3 more close phases got them a penalty inside the 22 not far from centre field before the half hour and Hurley made the difference two scores.
The visitors returned the restart with an up-and-under; Barnes kept the ball for 2 close phases before going wide. They put together 7 more varied phases then flanker Scott broke clean away. After 4 close recycles, 2 of them blind they got to 5 metres out; next there were two interceptions before 4 more close phases from Barnes that got them a penalty 12 metres out in centre field. Coles reduced the deficit to 5 points at 35 minutes.
Barnes soon cleared the restart to touch 4 metres inside their half. The visitors pack kept the ball in from their line-out before an error gave the home team a scrum at their 10 metre line. Following that there were two kicks with little retention before a Barnes line-out near halfway. Their error after a couple of phases preceded the whistle.
Barnes' second half kick-off was quickly followed by two up-and-unders; Sutton then broke through strongly then recycled wide before chipping though at centre. Barnes had to clear to touch 20 metres from their line. The visitors kept the ball close from the line-out and advanced to get a penalty 14 metres out in centre field at 2 minutes and Hurley made the lead 8 points again.
Sutton & Epsom replied to the restart with an up-and-under that the opposition dropped. The visitors got the ball and soon went wide before chipping through the line; this resulted in a penalty against them 10 metres out. Barnes kicked for a line-out 20 metres out that resulted in a scrum near there from which after 4 phases they made 8 metres to get a penalty. The touch-kick didn't gain much ground then after the line-out and a couple of recycles three kicks were exchanged. Sutton then kept the ball for 10 phases advancing strongly until their opponents' forced an error and got the ball. Barnes kicked ahead to halfway and the visitors tried an up-and-under after two recycles. Barnes wing Scott ran 60 metres to the posts after 10 minutes. Coles added to make the score 20 - 21.
Barnes secured the restart and launched a near vertical up-and-under after two recycles. They regained that and went wide; Adams chipped through the line and he ran on and regained to go over at a corner at 13 minutes and regain the lead for the first time in half an hour. The conversion was wide.
Barnes returned the restart with an up-and-under that resulted in a penalty for the visitors 5 metres into Barnes' half. The kick took Sutton to a line-out 26 metres out that was thrown not-straight. Despite Barnes' previous advantages in the set scrums the visitors got opposition ball this time. Sutton & Epsom were forced back then were turned over; Barnes recycled once tight before being penalised 16 metres inside their half. The kick took Sutton to their line-out 13 metres out. Their forward drive went down before they recycled to centre then 2 more phases took Sutton close to their opponents' line. Following two tight recycles they went wide and wing Turton crossed easily wide out after 18 minutes.
Hurley made his team's lead 3 points.
The restart resulted in a scrum for Barnes 30 metres from the opposition line. After that the ball was dropped at centre and advantage was played. Sutton launched an up-and-under; three more kicks followed leading to a Sutton line-out 28 metres from their line. From that they advanced with 3 phases before launching another up-and-under. Barnes dealt with that and recycled close 3 times before Sutton got a scrum put-in when the opposition failed to get the ball to ground. This was 11 metres inside Barnes' half. Barnes strongly pushed their opponents' pack back and got a penalty fort that. The kick took them to 15 metres into the other half, from which they went wide and wing Scott made a strong break before being forced into touch 11 metres out. From the line-out the visitors cleared to touch at their 10 metre line. They stole the next line-out and kicked well to touch 15 metres from the opposition line. Barnes' forwards kept the ball at their line-out, advanced then launched an up-and-under that resulted in their penalty at Sutton & Epsom's 10 metre line. This was put into touch for another line-out at the 22. The ball was again kept in and that got them another penalty then another line-out 5 metres out. The next drive went down and Barnes recycled close 3 times then went wider before 6 more close phases led to going wide again and replacement wing Riley broke through to score wide out at 32 minutes and regain the lead for his team. Coles converted to make the score 32 - 28.
The restart resulted in a penalty for the visitors 29 metres out that got them a line-out 14 metres out. Sutton varied their next 7 phases until the defence forced an error 19 metres out. Barnes, from the scrum, tried an up-and-under after recycling twice. The visitors recycled twice close then went wider, making a half-break; they went blind and advanced and did so again after one close recycle. Barnes’ defence forced an error to get the ball; they recycled three times then kicked for territory. Sutton soon went wide and chipped over; Barnes cleared to touch at their 22 then stole the line-out. After it they advanced and tried another up-and-under. Sutton went quickly wide and put together a handful of phases that made good ground twice before sending no.8 Whitaker over wide-out for his 2nd try. Hurley kicked his sixth before the final whistle.
Dry, not too warm, no wind; the pitch in good condition.