London Cornish cannot topple Sutton & Epsom
Matt Whitacker bagged a hat-trick as Sutton & Epsom beat London Cornish 30-15 to stay top of London Division Two South West.
Cornish opened the scoring with a penalty from centre Luke Spells which was answered a couple of minutes later by a penalty for Sutton from scrum half Frankie Murray.
Cornish were then awarded a penalty which allowed them to put the ball in the corner and their pack drove in from five metres - Spells converted and at half time Cornish led 10-3.
With the wind at their backs in the second half, Sutton stepped up a gear.
They stole the ball on the Cornish 10-metre line, the ball went to captain and flanker Whitacker who burst through the entire Cornish team to score next to the posts. Murray converted to level the scores.
Shortly after though, Sutton gave away a series of penalties which allowed Cornish to kick for the corner and once again their pack rumbled over. The conversion was missed.
Almost from the kick off, Sutton won possession close to the Cornish line, taking a leaf out of the Cornish book they chose to pick and drive through the forwards and Whitacker broke from the side of the ruck to score next to the posts. Murray again converted to give Sutton the lead for the first time in the match.
It was Murray now who master-minded the Sutton win with some clever and superbly placed box kicking which kept Cornish deep in their own half.
With 15 minutes to go, an inch-perfect chip through from Sutton’s fly half Brendan Kipping saw flying winger Mike Cartledge run round the defence and get the touchdown, which went unconverted.
Sutton now were in control of the match thanks to Murray’s intelligent kicking and it was Murray who put them further ahead with a penalty, which meant Cornish had to score twice to win the game.
They never looked likely to get any score from then on and with seconds to go in the game Sutton’s pack drove in for Whitacker to get his hat-trick and the all important bonus point try.
Sutton do not have a game on Saturday but resume their league campaign on December 8 when they are at home to Teddington - kick off 2.30pm at Rugby Lane, Cheam.