Surrey U20 (24 – 45 ) Kent U20
Kent travelled to Weydon to take on Surrey in their opening pool match of the Jason Leonard under 20 County Championship. Kent’s preparations were significantly hampered by a number of late withdrawals yet despite this, prevailed in an entertaining match for the hardy spectators scoring 7 tries to the home side’s 4.
The opening 20 minutes belonged totally to the visitors. Despite losing hooker Ollie Colegate to a hamstring injury in the 7th minute. Joel Chance proved an excellent replacement. A dominant scrum and a solid line out gave Kent front foot ball to play with. They pinned their Surrey hosts back. Tries followed from Captain, Huw Sutton, Jack Smith, James Burton and Tom Williams. Owen Church-Mills converted 3 and Kent led 0-26 with a bonus point secured.
Surrey for their part made several early changes in an effort to negate the Kent dominance. The Ben-Solomon brothers being the most effective as they came on in the front row and provided real competition upfront. With more of a platform, Surrey soon scored an unconverted try from Mogridge to make the score 5-26. Having got on the board the Surrey team then failed to close the half out and Kent’s sweeping attack from the kick-off saw Zach Filmer cross for a fine try. Church-Mills was on target with the conversion and Kent went into half time 5-33 to the good.
With persistent rain falling the quality of the rugby by both sides was to be commended. The second half started and as it progressed Kent lost Mark Muhlemann and both locks, Sutton and Henry Kenny, to minor injuries. With several players playing out of position Kent kept a resurgent Surrey side at bay for opening quarter of an hour.
On 65 minutes Surrey added to their tally with Saville scoring and converting his own try to narrow the score to 12-33. However, once again, Kent struck back immediately from the kick-off. Going through a number phases with excellent ball retention Kent drove at the home line. Joshua Ondoma powered over from short range to score an unconverted try and maintain Kent’s comfortable lead over their hosts.
The last 10 minutes saw 3 tries, two from the hosts J Ben-Soloman and one for Kent’s Joel Chance who had run a great line to carve open the home defence. Owen Church-Mills converted and secured the victory for Kent.
Kent’s strength in depth was severely tested with so many late withdrawals but this did not deter from the character, attitude and effort from all those who played to ensure Kent got off to the start they craved in this year’s competition.