Aldershot - Sunday 14th February.
The Army U20 6 – 50 Surrey U20
‘What are we doing on Valentine’s day, darling?’
‘Well, I am playing rugby for Surrey U20 in Aldershot’
‘I know it is wet and miserable, but do you think I could come along and watch?’
‘Of course, sweetheart and I guess if we score 50 points I will take you out for a Valentines dinner!’
….such devotion. They did come and watch….and they did score 50 points… I trust it was a good dinner!
Leaving their valentines behind in front of the fire, the Surrey coaches, Messrs. Deane and Evans arrived at kick off and nearly missed the first try. An absolute peach of a run by Ross Thompson including a chip ahead which he caught himself and released Rudi Sanwell to score under the posts, a try which Jack Cooke converted to make it 7-0 after two minutes. The referee from the Combined Services was not impressed and proceeded to penalise Surrey eight times in the next ten minutes. The Army’s Tommy Jones was unlucky from one of these to only strike to post and fail in getting the Army on the scoreboard.
In the 12th minute a great take in the lineout by Nick Haigh saw the ball move very quickly to centre field where Ben Axen Burrett made a devastating break to sweetly pass to the ever supportive Max Rowson to score untouched under the posts. Again Jack Cooke converted. Three minutes later prop Thomas Bristow made a similar break in midfield – If it was not quite as pacey an Ben’s break earlier it was just as devastating. Who was there on his outside but the speedy flanker Max Rowson. Jack converted again to take the score to 21 points. For the next 20 minutes the Army fought hard to stay in the match and Surrey gave the referee an opportunity to penalise them on a regular basis. From these Tommy Jones was again unlucky to hit a post but did manage to convert two penalties to register six points on the scoreboard.
After 36 minutes Andrew Gardner darted unopposed down the blind side to take the score to 26 – 6. The Army finished the half in the ascendancy. However after half time Surrey again showed power in the tight scrum from 5 metres and the ever present No 8 and Captain, Ollie Edwards got over from a short distance again leaving Jack Cooke little risk of the conversion by making it under the posts. In the 51st minute a Nick take in the highly efficient lineout lead to an extremely powerful drive which the ever sniping Andrew Gardner was then able to seize on the quick release and score a very good text book try. So at 38-6 there were number of changes on the Surrey side with the subs being brought on and of course including the now compulsory Yellow card, this time for the outstanding Dave Thornton. With the Army lock being squeezed off the ground in a maul in which he was the only one not on his feet, Dave was taken aside by the referee, to be given a rest, and the resultant penalty was awarded against Surrey for pulling down the maul – or so it appeared to be signalled.
Despite being without Dave for 10 the Surrey pack continued to march forward in the tight scrums.
The last 10 minutes of the game saw the Army show courageous and continued resistance – their heads never showed a sign of dipping – I guess all us civvies are in good hands as regards the defence of the country.
Captain Ollie ended the game with a trade mark try which was converted by Michael Channing and then an outstanding release to, fittingly Max Rowson playing 7 , out on the wing – 50 points to six.
In the 1st two games of the Under 20 Tournament, due to various other commitments 32 players have appeared for Surrey with little sign of weakness. This strength in depth bodes well for the rest of the tournament.
Squad: Ross Thompson, Rudi Sanwell, Ben Axen Burrett; Jack Cooke; Ross Fowles; Michael Channing; Andrew Gardner; Thomas Bristow, James Catton, Richard Lardner, Dave Thornton, Nick Haigh, Henry Mounsey, Max Rowson, Ollie Edwards, Luke Daws, Adam Sowter, James Matthews, Gabe Hills, Zac Crabb, Toby Quarendon
Next up Surrey play Kent at Imber Court on the 28th February at 1400 hrs