North Midlands’ hopes of winning promotion back to the top flight of the County Championship Bill Beaumont Cup suffered a setback when they were beaten 60-17 by Surrey in their opening match of this season’s competition at Stourbridge’s Stourton Park today.
Surrey won the County Championship Shield last season and decided to step up to the County Championship proper which allowed them to select players from National League clubs.
They arrived with a squad packed with players from National Two South club Dorking and that familiarity proved decisive against a North Midlands side playing together for the first time.
Two tries in the first five minutes set for the tone for a difficult day for North Midlands who also lost Bromsgrove flanker Sam Montieri on his debut with a suspected broken jaw.
“Surrey were very well organised and the fact that most of their players play for the same club helped them to start better than we did,” said North Midlands coach Dan Protherough.
“We didn’t wake up for the first 20 minutes and that set the tone for the rest of the game really.Once we got over that first 20 minutes we got into it.
“But we need to tighten up our defence because there we missed a number of one-on-one tackles and take a few more of our chances when we create them in attack.”
North Midlands scored three tries through Bromsgrove wing Tom Hunt, Bromsgrove replacement front row Gino Belmonte and Stourbridge back row forward Drew Harper with Bournville fly-half adding a conversion.
North Midlands continue their County Championship campaign against Devon at Brixham on May 16.