Surrey earn second Twickenham chance
SURREY will play at Twickenham for the second year running after making the long trip to Cumbria for the second successive year and returning victorious.
Both sides were unbeaten going into the game, so something had to give with a date at the home of rugby at stake and a match in front of a potentially big crowd what with the final taking place after the England v Barbarians clash.
Surrey began in positive mood and went ahead with a penalty goal from scrum-half Steve Munford. The home side knuckled down and bounced back with a try by winger Phil Fell, which was smartly converted by Greg Smith, to ease Cumbria into an early 7-3 lead.
Surrey then began to play some excellent rugby and after a splendid period of play, they grabbed two quick tries.
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Firstly No 8 Ben Lucas drove over and then some slick handling saw wing Mike Terelak score a try. Both were converted by Munford to push Surrey 17-7 in front.
With half-time approaching, Cumbria converted another penalty goal to bring the interval scoreline to 17-10, in the visitors' favour. The second period began with the home side in determined mood and spurred on by the large partisan home crowd, Smith successfully kicked another penalty goal to reduce Surrey's lead to a narrow four points.
Not to be outdone, back came Surrey and Munford struck another penalty to re-establish the seven-point advantage with a well placed effort.
The next part of this fascinating match saw Surrey really turn the screw and their front row of Tom Bristow, Nathan Kemp and Charlie Connor began to boss their counterparts, while locks, skipper Armand Roux and Matt Higgins won lots of possession and the back row cleaned up at the breakdowns. This platform and some excellent phases of rugby from Surrey enabled them to really take control of the game going into the later stage.
After some good, quick handling, Surrey scored a try by flanker Chris Lewis.
With their tails up and the visitors firmly in the ascendancy, Lewis smashed through several tackles to grab his second try, after some splendid rugby from the visitors.
Munford added both conversions to put Surrey 34-13 ahead.
With both sides making full use of the rolling substitutions rule, Cumbria dug deep and tore back into Surrey. From a surging drive by their pack, Cumbria's forwards scored a try and Smith kicked the conversion to lift the home side's hopes.
Once again though the visitors drove up the pitch and another penalty goal was kicked by Munford, to give him a personal tally of 17 points for the day and to secure a well earned victory for Surrey and a trip to the hallowed turf of Twickenham, where they will meet Leicestershire in a winner takes all encounter.
Surrey: Hunt, Terelak, Muller, Faulkner, Phillips, Lang, Munford, B Lucas, Vermont, Lewis, Higgins, Roux, Connor, Kemp, Bristow. Catton, Knight, Tait, Fee, Losardo, Clarke, Brown.