Simon Hrbek helps boot Shelford to victory
Full-back scores vital points
Simon Hrbek kicked Shelford to a 13-8 win over Sutton & Epsom in an uninspiring National League Three London & SE match.
There was very little between the teams in the table, with both having won three and lost three of their six matches so far, and that came across during the game.
It was largely contested in the middle of the pitch, with neither side fully able to exploit the width of the pitch and it is difficult to work out exactly why this was the case.
However, it could be suggested the pernickety officiating at the set piece, particularly the scrum, led to a stop-start match, and at least 23 line-outs to Shelford shows where Sutton & Epsom kept putting the ball – out of touch.
For those two factors alone, it is understandable why there was no continuity from the hosts.
It is equally difficult to either praise or criticise what they did with the ball – when they went through the phases they looked a danger, and were perhaps missing that finite detail to be able to make it tell on the scoreboard.
The two packs went toe-to-toe and that created the battle mentality, and limited the space for either set of backs to exploit.
Hrbek had kicked a penalty after six minutes to put Shelford 3-0 up, but Sam Hurley replied with three points for Sutton & Epsom just two minutes later.
Shelford showed what they could do when looking after possession in the 29th minute.
They went through the phases to stretch play and Richy McIver then barged an opponent out of the way to draw a pass to put in Dave Hill on the outside to touch down unopposed, with Hrbek adding the conversion.
But Sutton & Epsom reduced the arrears just before half time. From a line-out just inside the Shelford half, they set up a rolling maul that was halted under the posts, but the visitors recycled wide left for Andrew Matthews to run in to score to make it 10-8 at half time.
It was a largely uneventful second half, but Shelford rarely looked troubled by their opponents.
And their win was completed by a late Hrbek penalty.
Shelford: Hrbek; Lucas, Anderson, Wessels, Baker; Gillick, Harvey; Winter, Reilly, Cutts, Jackowski, Hill, Beswick, Walker, McIver.
Replacements: Gregerson, Lea, Dawes.
Sutton & Epsom: Hurley; Ghumra, Fa’aatuatu, Matthews, Knott; See, Watts; Ionica, Bonizzi, Bellringer, Harwood, Mauger, Colclough, Caddy, Whitaker.
Replacements: Mroz, London, Wadwa.
Referee: Ken Morgan.
Scorers: 6min Hrbek pen (3-0), 8 Hurley pen (3-3), 29 Hill try – Hrbek con (10-3), 39 Matthews try (10-8), 80 Hrbek pen (13-8).
*Meanwhile, Cambridge earned a bonus point for four tries in their 34-24 defeat at Blackheath in National League One.