- Guernsey contingent wings in for Hampshire win
- Shield holders Surrey hit the ground running
Photo: RFU Archive
Surrey and Hampshire both opened their 2013 RFU County Championship campaigns with high-scoring wins in the first round of fixtures on April 27.
Surrey began their defence of the County Championship Shield in Pool 3 at Guildford wearing their ‘away’ kit complete with Playboy TV sponsors’ logo in a 67-12 defeat of Oxfordshire.
Club Hampshire, meanwhile, eventually pulled away from Middlesex to win 41-19 in the opening Shield Pool 4 match at Portsmouth RFC.
Hampshire fielded 20 senior county debutants, including eight players who flew in from National 3 London & South East club Guernsey, and eased into a 17-0 lead in the opening quarter.
There were tries for Blair Campbell (Guernsey), Matt Peters (Portsmouth) and Jim Regnard (Guernsey), before Middlesex prop Lewis Edwards (Amersham & Chiltern) barged his way to the line with Phil Astbury (Twickenham) adding the conversion.
Winchester’s Matt Burt crossed for Hampshire’s fourth try of the afternoon to seal the bonus point but their lead was reduced to 22-12 just before half-time with a Middlesex try by Will Alkin (London Scottish Amateurs).
Hampshire were reduced to 14 men for ten minutes when Regnard was shown a yellow card for a late tackle and Middlesex took advantage when Bart Casagrande (Hammersmith & Fulham) went over following a line-out move and Astbury added the extras.
However, Burt’s second try followed by one for Tottonians’ Richard Buck eased any Hampshire worries and Regnard crossed again after some brave work by Campbell.
Club Hampshire team manager Ed Neville said: “This was a very good performance from every member of the side, and it puts us in a very good position ahead of next week’s match against Sussex.
“Unfortunately, we will not have the players from Guernsey available as they will be playing in the Siam Cup against Jersey but we hope to have players from Basingstoke coming in after their play-off win.”
Hampshire meet Sussex at Pulborough RFC on Saturday (May 4) at 3pm, and the pool is completed the following week when Middlesex host Sussex at Staines RFC.
* Surrey, under coach Duncan Cormack, were missing their customary large Dorking contingent of players, as the club was involved in a play-off at Exmouth in Devon, but the county side’s form hardly suffered.
Fly half and captain Neil Hallett – formerly of Esher and now at Wimbledon RFC – was orchestrating slick moves from the off and was quick to utilise the good possession won by his pack.
Full back Matthew Betty (East Grinstead) scored the first Surrey try after two minutes, with Hallett converting and adding two penalties in quick succession.
With 10 players in the squad from the highly successful London Irish Wild Geese, cohesion and good phases of teamwork were at the heart of Surrey’s best work.
Wing George Owen (London Irish) grabbed the first of his two tries, followed over by centre and club-mate Sean Cunningham before Owen added his second.
Fly half Will Hilton of Oxford Harlequins scored in the corner for the visitors and Surrey led 34-5 at half-time.
A storming run from Surrey No.8 Sam McKinney (London Irish) quickly brought him a well-deserved score, and the tries kept coming with two by flanker Scott Moore (London Irish) and another by young replacement Alex Seers of Chobham.
Oxfordshire replacement Matt Clarke of Bicester RFC pulled one back with an interception of a loose Surrey pass but in the closing stages centre Neil Brown (Wimbledon) and 18-year-old full back replacement Seers added further tries for Surrey, both converted by Seers.
The win left Surrey looking forward to their next encounter away to Berkshire on Saturday, May 4 at Newbury RFC.
Teams on April 27:
Hampshire: Jason Harvey (Guernsey), Richard Buck (Tottonians), Chris Wood (Guernsey), Blair Campbell (Guernsey), Matt Burt (Winchester), Greg Sullivan (Winchester), Adam Lavis (New Milton and District); Cameron Crane (Guernsey), Tom Pool (Guernsey), Tom Hankey (Portsmouth), Lewis Hillier (Guernsey), Rob Gicquel (Portsmouth), Matt Peters (Portsmouth), Jim Regnard (Guernsey), Nick Barton (Guernsey)
Replacements: Greg Hoolihan (Portsmouth), Alex Hibdige (Andover), Dan Sargent (Portsmouth), Richard Farmer (Portsmouth), Lawrence Wadham (Gosport and Fareham), Jack Stott (Andover), Kieran McRoberts (Gosport and Fareham)
Middlesex: Will Alkin (London Scottish Amateurs), Oyoni Gblay (Brunel University), Ash Wright (Brunel University), Daniel Tilley (London Scottish Amateurs), Dunnan O’Meachair (Enfield Ignations), Phil Astbury (Twickenham), Dan Ap-Dafyd (Bracknell); Stuart Jarvis (HAC), Joe Shelton (Old Patesians), Lewis Edwards (Amersham and Chiltern), Alex Webb (Old Streetonians), Bart Casagrande (Hammersmith and Fulham), Stuart May (London Scottish Amateurs), Joe Clapson (Bracknell), Mike Clarke (London Scottish Amateurs)
Replacements: Chris Bellringer (Civil Service 1863), Dennis Gibson (London Scottish Amateurs), Wesley Santos (unattached), Jason Lee (Staines), George Britton (Tonbridge Juddians), Rory Greenslade-Jones (Bracknell), Michael Scrace (Saracens Amateurs)
Surrey: Matthew Betty (East Grinstead); Tom Hunt (Dorking), Neil Brown (Wimbledon), Sean Cunningham, George Owen (both London Irish WG); Neil Halett (Wimbledon, capt), Nic Losardo (Effingham & Leatherhead); Peter Wallace (Wimbledon), Sam Johnson (Dorking), Charlie Connor, Andy Evans, Cathal Murphy (all London Irish WG), James Tubasei (Effingham & Leatherhead), Scott Moore, Sam McKinney (both London Irish WG)
Replacements: Joey Nanai (Wimbledon), Paul Doyle (London Irish WG), Jake Dobson (Dorking), Chris Browne (London Irish WG), Alex Seers (Chobham), Harry Guy (Chobham), Ed Keohane (London Irish WG)