Dorking Under 21s 23 Chipstead 5
Ross Grimstone returned from more typical rugby duties at Cardiff University and regularly turning out for the London Scottish second team to lead Dorking Under 21s to a hard fought but in the end well deserved victory over a very capable and competitive Chipstead outfit.
An epidemic of Cabin Fever in the Dorking district caused by unhappy weather and unseasonal time with immediate family brought a more than decent holiday crowd to the Big Field for the fixture on Thursday evening. The Club’s Under 21s first defence of the Surrey Cup won last year was in fact also the first ever competitive game played under floodlights at the home of Dorking Rugby and was a suitably fitting way to end an immense decade for the rugby club in the presence of President Ted Ivens who had been one of the movers and shakers to secure the Club’s residency in Brockham almost forty years ago.
That over forty players signed up to turn out for the Fighting Cocks in the holiday programme speaks volumes of the work done by Team Manager Stuart Catton and the degree of loyalty built up around the Club by the Mini and Youth set up over the last ten years.
And the off field investment resulted in a star studded squad showing up for the festive fixture. In addition to Grimstone, the Dorking ranks included First fifteen regulars James Catton, Tom Bristow, Nick Haigh and Will Crow as well as recent Cambridge Blue Miles Daly playing his first game of rugby since coming off the bench for Cambridge at Twickenham earlier in December. “The Varsity Match was a fantastic experience especially as I had spent most of the season injured. Cambridge being coached by Wasps’ Shaun Edwards was also very rewarding; He has an incredible presence and isn’t someone to argue back with. He was quite scary just putting the cones out. Not unlike playing for Stuart really.” Fellow Jesus College student Rob Stephen returned with a new look now he can grow his hair and several current school players were included in a squad spanning three age groups.
Once underway it was the Dorking pack that made the first impression and gained a dominance that would ultimately decide the game’s outcome. At the line out Catton was reunited with his former age group partners Fee and Dobson and with Shepherd in attendance from the outset secured a steady supply of good quality ball for Crow at scrum half. It is to Chipstead’s total credit that despite the lack of success at set piece they remained competitive until the game’s final period. The first Dorking score followed Dobbo’s take at the top of the line and a drive to the Chipstead whitewash by Camberley Shaun and Nick Haigh from where Rob Stephen was to eventually worm his way over. Nick Haigh and Ross both made massive breaks only to be out done by terrific scrambling defense. Chipstead’s adventure mostly met meticulous Dorking defence with Robbie Fee making some huge hits before Chipstead saw some reward with a well worked try at the top of the hill. It was in the event to be the only time the visitors crossed the Dorking lines. Ryan Jeffrey made a break for Ben Francis to get close before Rob Stephen nudged a penalty over to push on to eight points. Ed Marsh punched his weight and James Gaymer went close. Clear blue water was soon to be established after Ryan found a good touch up to the right hand corner. Dobbo again secured good ball at the top of the line and James Catton was to emerge claiming a well deserved score and an eight point lead. Will Edgely, Hunty, Jonny Ellis and Steve Mayes all came off the bench to good effect. Fraser McDonald and Will Randall also made welcome returns to Dorking ranks. And it was brilliant to see Spreckers in the Squad. Ryan extended the lead with another penalty before a terrific passage of play saw the ball moved wide through various hands including forwards Dobson and Bristow for Scotland international Ben Francis to streak away to finally put the result beyond any doubt. Ryan converted and the first defense of the county title was accordingly accomplished 23-5. A credit to Stuart Catton for pulling the squad together and all that had coached this talented bunch over the years. Tracy fed all and sundry and it was all back home for Top TV adverts of the Year by 7.00pm.
Team Manager Stuart Catton was particularly pleased with the forward platform; “I thought the front row in particular were outstanding. The experience they have gained in the Ones at the Club was there for all to see. This enabled us to turn over a strong Chipstead unit while giving a number of debuts at this age group to Will Edgley, big Jonny Ellis, Miles Daly, Rob Stephen, Fraser MacDonald, and young Tom Hunt. I was also pleased with James’ captaincy and decision making generally; he showed real leadership throughout the game. The players were very grateful for the now customary strong support from a really large contingent of the Dorking faithful who made the effort to turn out to cheer the boys to in the end a comfortable win”.
Head Coach Ben Tyler was similarly satisfied with the afternoon’s endeavor. “Look, I was just pleased to be in an environment where people weren’t gloating at me over the Ashes. So steering the boys to a win in the damp under Box Hill was the ideal way to take my mind off events - and the weather- in Melbourne. The depth of talent coming up through the Club is quite remarkable. For a scratch side I was pretty impressed by the level of continuity the boys managed to put together. I’m really impressed with the quality and commitment that the Club seems to have coming up behind the senior squad who are obviously setting a pretty high standard. The boys are now really looking forward to having a tilt at local rivals Reigations on Bank Holiday Monday.”
DORKING SQUAD: S Olayanju, J Catton, T Bristow, J Dobson, H Shepherd, R Grimstone, R Fee, N Haigh, A Davis, J Ellis, J Stephens, W Randall, W Crow, R Stephen, B Francis, E Marsh, M Daly, S Wilkinson, R Jeffrey, T Hunt, F MacDonald, S Mayes, W Edgley, J Gaymer, G Spreckley
NEXT GAME MONDAY 3rd JANUARY KICK OFF 1.00PM –v- OLD REIGATIONS HOME AT THE BIG FIELD