However, Sutton having lost six of their first seven fixtures, were certainly looking to be in the relegation mix. But with a 24-53 demolition of London Cornish, with new signing Kiwi centre from Taranaki, Willem Ratu who scored a Hat Trick and new Forwards coach Alex Dombradt from Harlequins & England, they had showed a renewed confidence and had won their last five games turning over Cobham, OR’s next opponents Old Colfeians and league leaders Beckenham. So to travel to S&E was going to be a mighty challenge. Add into the mix that Prop Forwards Reilly Franklin Talbot (1st XV Captain), Paul Marshall both knees, Ethan Monk concussed, Ciaran Lee broken hand and Mike Layzell testing positive for Covid the Front Row resources were stretched. 1st choice Hooker Ciaran Nestor was moved to LooseHead Prop. Harry Plowman started at Hooker and with Dan Grant in the second row unavailable, the whole back five of the scrum were back row forwards.
The game started at a great pace and both Teams showed great structure and ball retention only matched by the committed defence of both teams. After the opening 15 minutes it looked like scoring opportunities were going to be hard to come by. In the 17th Minutes OR’s had an attacking Line Out close to the Sutton try line. With the Line Out won the whole pack set about driving towards the try line and it was Nestor who had the ball at the back of the maul and touch it down for the first points of the day. Lucas Overtoom took care of the conversion 0-7.
OR’s continued to play a fast tempo game and and play moved into the home side’s 22 Alex Skinner decided to move the ball to the narrow where Gareth Stephens was out numbered by defenders with a cool head he chipped the ball over the defensive line collected his own kick and score the visitors second try and the score moved to 0-12.
Sutton & Epsom had their opportunities and their Captain Freddy Bunting who normally is an outstanding kicker missed two relatively kickable penalties.
The rejigged Reigatian scrum was working well with no doubt the bigger home pack finding themselves going backwards regularly and with play on the S&E try line the OR’s pack was putting more and more pressure on the home scrum and looking like a push over try was possible after the scrum reset again this time the move was moved quickly to midfield Skinner found Max Coyle coming on a short line to score the third try and with Overtoom’s kick after 36 minutes 0-19. With time ticking away in the first half there was time for one lasty attack from the lads in Blue and Green this time the ball was moved to the right Wing where Jack Baart was found with a one v one and using his strength forced his way over to score the 4th try and give Old Reigatian a try scoring bonus point before half time. Half Time Score 0-26.
The scoreline was probably harsh on Sutton whose players made been totally committed and looked dangerous with the ball in hand but the Team from Reigate had been more clinical taking advantage of every opportunity that came their way.
The second half was possibly the worse start for the home team with another kick ahead from Gareth Stephens he again won the race to touch down and extend the lead to 0-31.
With 12 minutes gone in the second half Sutton found themselves in a good attacking position with a Line Out close the Reigatian’s line. With the driving maul being held up the ball was moved away and a Sutton player finally found a hole in the defensive line to score the home side’s first points of the day. With a successful kick 7-31. After a good kick from Bunting Sutton had good field position, as they battered away at the Regatian line twice the ball had been won back only for the Ref to call play back following an infringement finally a Sutton forward forced his way over the line. 14-31.
The home supporters started to dream a come back was possibly and credit to the players they kept fully committed. Then as they Sutton tried to put some width into their game the ball move to the right wing and as to the Wing was floated out Max Coyle intercepted and run in untouched from the 22. Overtoom added the extras and with the score 14-38 with 20 minutes left it was game over Sutton pushed to get there bonus point and managed one more try but with a Final Score of 21-38 it was an impressive win for Old Reigatian putting them 1 point behind Beckenham and a great position to start 2024.
1.Ciaran Nestor. 2. Harry Plowman 3. Toby Collister 4. Oli Brooks 5. Jack Baart 6. Sam Foreman 7. Finaly Lock 8. Ryan Taylor Travers 9. Alex Skinner 10. Lucas Overtoom 11. Finn Coyle 12. Max Coyle 13. Gareth Stephens 14. Harrisson Mitchell 15. Conor Woods
16. David Niven 17. Ed Cox 18. Ben Holder