Old Whitgiftians are on the way up as champions of Surrey

RUGBY ROUND-UP: Old Whitgiftians finished the league season last weekend by maintaining their unbeaten home record at Croham Manor Road this season with a 41-31 win over Chipstead to underline their status as Surrey 1 champions, with promotion to the London regional divisions next season.

The John Youngs-coached squad finished with a playing record of Won 14, Lost 4, and a comfortable eight points clear of runners-up Old Georgians, having had the honours secured two games before the season’s end.

Against local rivals Chipstead, Tim Catling, at full-back, once more proved to be a game-changer, as he and No8 Jonathan Mount both scored two tries, while fly-half Andrew Marshall and Nick Byrne also touched down for scores in a hard-fought derby where the advantage only really swung in the home side’s favour when Chipstead were reduced to 14 men.

Old Mid-Whitgiftians’ hopes of making it into the promotion play-offs had petered out over their last two games, a defeat at home to the Law Society and then, away to promotion chasing Georgians last Saturday, losing 43-19 to end up third in the division.

MidWives’ work is not finished, though, as the side has two cup semi-finals to contest in the next couple of weeks.

Surrey 1 champions: Old Whitgiftians, with coach John Youngs (red shirt, second from left) enjoy their moment in the April sun

Old Walcountians finished with a flourish, 61-0 winners over Wimbledonians to be placed  fifth in the Surrey 1 table, though that could change this afternoon following the MidWives’ final match at Lime Meadow Avenue against Chipstead.

In London and SE 3SW, the league which Whits seem likely to be playing next term, Warlingham managed to grind out a 38-35 win over Trojans in their penultimate fixture last week, assured of staying up in mid-table. After a Palace-like win-less streak back in September and October at the start of the season, Warlingham’s coach, Nick Warren, has seen his squad win nine out of their last 10 games going back to November, many of the victories eked out by narrow margins.

The final reckoning comes with today’s 3pm kick-off at Hamsey Green against Old Cranleighians, who have already been anointed as divisional champions and will provide a stern test. “This is an opportunity to measure ourselves against the league leaders,” Warren said this week, indicating that for him and his squad, the season’s work is not yet over.

Of the area’s other clubs, Purley-John Fisher – who were themselves playing in London 3 just a few seasons ago – finished the season fifth in Surrey 2, one place ahead of Streatham-Croydon.

And Surrey 3 showed that sporting miracles do happen. Croydon RFC, after going the whole of the season with a single win to their name, managed to beat Horley 35-22 in their final fixture. They still ended the season 10th, and last, in the table, again, though.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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