League: Croydon RFC vs Wandsworthians RFC


Croydon entered the third week of Surrey 4 fixtures with a set of results more random than the contents of Broadbent’s dirty pint. Shipping 40+ points to league favourites Egham was followed by some fancy new shirts, a walkover win against Horley, and a surprise upset victory against London Media. A success against the visiting Wandsworth could therefore stabilise things and start a winning run.

As the game kicked off, two things quickly became clear:

1)      Croydon looked the better drilled, stronger team

2)      There was no way Ginge was lasting 80 mins in this torrential drizzle

Sensing his time on the field was limited, the diminutive scrum half wasted no time in taking control of the game. On the back of Croydon’s complete dominance over the sent piece, Ginge darted through a confused defence and gave the Poppies a 7-0 lead.

  Wandsworth crumble under the pressure of Croydon’s pack

Wandsworth crumble under the pressure of Croydon’s pack

Clearly in the ascendancy despite the challenging conditions, the home team ramped up the pressure and set up camp in the opposition half. Drummey could have doubled the lead after finding himself with an open run in from 20 meters out but opted to trade away the 5 points on the scoreboard a for a crisp, refreshing Drummey pint.

Nevertheless, more tries were on their way. Slick back play with smart handling from Gleig and Henderson combined with some astute kicking from Drury gifted Bond an open lane to slide under the posts. Likewise, the Matthews-dominated forwards owned the set pieces through a powerful core of A Matthews, S Matthews, G Matthews and Matthew D. The pack forced a try of their own with Matthew I boshing over from 5 meters out to complete the half with a healthy 21-0 scoreline. The only negative to a great half was Glenn having to leave the game early with a lump or his head so big it needed its own team shirt. Lyell was pulled in as cover on the flank as his career inches ever closer to the front row.

  Taking the positives with the Egg-itives

Taking the positives with the Egg-itives

Some inspiring half-time words from Defrates were immediately washed away by the rain and Wandsworth ran in a soft try to start the second half. Ginge left the field to be thawed out but Croydon answered back, Irvine switching to the blind side and finding Jeffrey who swooped in under the posts to secure the bonus point and gift another straightforward conversion to Bond.

As the game became scrappier, solid defence from Broadbent, Shrimpton, and Lyell (definitely a forward) kept Wandsworth at bay but tired legs and slippery conditions meant the home team could not regain the upper hand. Colcutt entered the fray to maintain Croydon’s grip on the scrum while Kilcoyne tried to emulate Glenn’s forehead fashion with an ambitious, face-first, chop-tackle.

  On Target: Bond slots another conversion

On Target: Bond slots another conversion

With the clock winding down, Croydon broke through again and Drummey finally got on the scoresheet. Jeffrey then doubled his tally, benefitting from a neat chip to the corner, some ambiguously painted pitch lines, and an Oscar-winning “definitely not out of bounds” try celebration which was enough to convince the ref.  With Croydon raining tries, Bond took full advantage from the kicking practice, impressively slotting conversions from either sideline.

Wandsworth rallied in the final minutes to score a second try but Croydon could take plenty of positives from a comfortable win, moving them up the league table to third. Very hard to pick out individual performances as the whole team raised their game and should be proud of a well-earned victory.

Final Score: Croydon 42 – Wandsworth 10

Tries: Curtis, Bond, Irvine, Jeffrey (2), Drummey

Conversions: Bond (6)

Open run-ins dropped: Drummey


MoM: S Matthews (Forwards), Henderson (Backs)


Honourable Mentions:

McCallister: Mick saw out the last days of his thirties by trying to rewrite the rulebook and secure the coveted Drummey pint a few days before the match. Rather than sliding over the tryline, Mick chose to slide into the club’s DMs with some unsolicited details of what he gets up to in the shower. Unfortunately, the second team stalwart was unavailable for comment as “his hands were Thai’d”. #fourtyandnaughty

Pre-Season: Croydon RFC vs London Media RFC

Croydon RFC VS London Media RFC


After an off-season full of new faces, gardening, the odd iNaga curry and a resolute focus on rebuilding, the Poppies were finally freed from the delicate restrictions of summer touch, ready return to proper rugby and get a first look at how far the revival project was progressing.

The weather - the spectacular summer had returned with a vengeance and the sun was out in full force.

The opposition - A last minute switch meant London media had the pleasure of travelling to Addington. One of Croydon’s bogey teams last season despite similarity of squads, the media boys (all 26 of them) would be a perfect acid test.

Media were out of the traps straight away and ran in an early try. Before Croydon had even realised the match had started they found themselves down 0-7, but fell back on their game plan; simple rugby played with intensity. Led by the centre pairing of Yorkie and captain Lyell, The Poppies ramped up the pressure and started winning penalty after penalty. Unfortunately, confusion in the line out and the two words no forward of a certain shape wants to hear, “uncontested scrums”, meant it was difficult to for the home team to capitalise.

In the second quarter, Croydon threw tactical kicking out the window and went back to the trusty tap and go. Strong phase play with solid contributions from Glenn, Cousins and Richardson gained valuable metres and built a platform for Simons to bulldoze over from close range, levelling the score and fulfilling his pre-match promise of a try in honour of Defrates (or was it Gissing?). The only blemish on a positive quarter was Yorkie’s injury meaning Dammers joined Shrimpton in the club of forwards forced to play in the backs.

Quarter three was just as evenly fought. Media continued to rotate their massive squad onto the field but despite fresh legs they couldn’t find a final pass. One of Croydon’s prodigal sons returning from university, Kareem, and debutant Mike both made important attacking carries while Simons gave his opposite number plenty of extra attention in defence. Against a run of sustained media pressure, Henderson latched onto a misplaced pass to jog in a try under the posts and give Croydon the lead for the first time in the match. 

Unfortunately, at the start of the final quarter, the blistering heat and relentless pace of the Media squad finally broke through Croydon’s resolute defending to score three time to gain a crucial 12 point lead going into the home stretch. Rather than bow down and admit defeat, the Poppies mustered up one final push. Yorkie rejoined the fray with one leg, Davenport dump tackled anyone with a media shirt, and the opposition were on the back foot. With a monstrous chase after a deep kick, Jeffrey was fingertips away from his first try of the season but a vicious clothesline wiped out both attacker and defender, leaving Drummey to play the advantage and dot the loose ball down himself. A final lost line out signalled the end of the match and while the result wasn’t as glorious as the conditions, there were plenty of positives to take forward.

Final score: Croydon 19 - Media 24

Tries: Simons, Henderson, Drummey

Conversions: Henderson (2)


Special mentions


A lack of backs meant the smallest forward was nominated to fill in at scrum half. Did himself no harm with a composed display and marshalling the link between the pack and the back line. Capped off his commitment to the role by even downing his ‘man of the match’ pint like a back! A new look for the defensive stalwart? Maybe so, if the #shrimpfor9 movement is anything to go by.


Front row

It’s impressive what a front row are capable of when they’re not having their souls crushed out of them in the scrum. Uncontested scrums proved a blessing in disguise and produced the most movement ever seen from the collective. highlights being:

  • Adrian galloping around with the ball in one hand looking for a kiwi-esque offload.

  • Steve’s one man chip and chase reminiscent of his 85/86 season.

  • Smuts solo counter rucks regaining valuable possession.

  • Davenport and ‘that’ dump tackle.



Conducting traffic at fly half, Jake kept everyone singing from the same hymn sheet and did well to make sure Croydon focused on their game plan. A solid performance in terms of decision making was rewarded by taking the customary unopposed-five-metre-run-in try usually reserved for Lyell.



Whilst neither were available in person, they contributed through social media and attempted to psych the team up for the game with a black and white montage of one of Jack’s topless weights sessions. Whilst the actual impact of the video on the match outcome remains inconclusive, rumours are still circulating that Adrian’s acrobatic runs were a homage to captain Bond, with mobile prop volunteering his own services for the next topless video.

Croydon RFC VS Horley RFC

Match Report: Croydon vs Horley 14th April

Croydon turned up to play the last league game of the season, pressure off, music playing and the only thing brighter than the weather being CJ’s choice of shorts. Everyone wanted to finish the season strongly and a huge amount support on the sidelines felt like having an extra player on the pitch. At the opening kick-off, Horley took the game to Croydon. A powerful run through the back line in their opening play looked a certain try but a miraculous last gasp defence from Shrimps and Henderson kept the scores level.

Despite Croydon continuing to hold off the opposition attack, the referee was keen to see the deadlock broken and rewrote the rule book to gift Horley a try. However, much like the Grand National, the Poppies knew that there was plenty more to obstacles to jump and the early frontrunner never wins. Answering straight back, Croydon began throwing themselves, and each other, at the opposition. Inches short of the line, Billy ‘human wrecking ball’ Simons launched Jack ‘human cannonball’ Drummy into the air and over the line to level the game and earn his seventh consecutive “Drummy pint” (it’s as if they were made for him!)

The sunny weather was bringing out free flowing, sevens-style rugby, with Gissing, Dammers and even Broadbent getting into the mood with jinking runs and neat offloads. Croydon were also finding success in the lineout; Griffiths, Defrates, and Yorkie were orchestrating the rolling maul to great effect, bulldozing down the pitch at a canter. Dominant field position was capitalised on by Bond, who slotted two penalties and try of his own to widen the home team’s lead. 

Croydon ended the half up 18-10 and in spirits that even the questionable refereeing couldn’t dampen. Not wanting to lose the advantage, the Poppies (and Cousins) came out swinging in the second half. More pressure from the backs marshalled by Henderson and Hawk resulted in a slick line break from Lyell to crash over for another Croydon try under the posts. 

As Horley continued to threaten, Bond took it upon himself to break opposition spirits “just like he breaks opposition ribs”. Tactical kicking pinned Horley back and another penalty was slotted before a drop goal attempt got “caught on his shoelaces” just as he “lost his footing” and hopelessly rolled along the floor and into touch. Thankfully, Smith did not suffer from the same shocking decision making when choosing to tap-and-go with a five metre penalty. Taking advantage of Horley disorganisation and very long limbs, CJ stretched (and stretched) and scored to secure a try bonus point for the Poppies.

With the home straight in sight, Croydon fought close out the victory. Fresh defence was brought on in Tony and Ronnie to bravely battle wave after wave of wave of Horley attack. Drowning under the relentless waves never a worry, partially thanks to Alfie wearing his best Baywatch attire on the sidelines but also due to the overwhelming points gap Croydon had created. The final whistle blew and Croydon celebrated a deserved victory with pizza and beer.

Final Score Croydon 35 - 22 Horley

Tries: Drummy, Bond, Lyell, Smith

Conversions: Bond (2) 

Penalties: Bond (3)

Forward/Back of the match


A superb addition to the back line options, grew into the game and was a menace in defence shutting down Horley running options. With his pace and support running, I can’t see many teams keeping Hawk off the scoresheet next season.

The veteran prop put in another resolute performance and martialled the set piece to great effect. Added to the post-match celebrations by declaring himself available for one more season “for the road.”

Match Report: Matt Biggs

League: Old Ruts RFC Vs Croydon RFC

Bright conditions and the return of some old faces added some positivity for Croydon’s visit to Old Rutlishians. A team reshuffle during the warm up resulted in Walker drawing the short straw and filling in at outside centre but another well attended training session had instilled some new lessons for the whole team to put into practice. More encouragement was generated by the 2nd XV being able to field a side against Warlingham, helping add more strength in depth to the squad.

Croydon knew exactly what to expect from a tough previous fixture against Ruts – a team pushing for promotion with the most dangerous back line in the league. Unfortunately, simply being aware of these strengths was not enough to stop them. Croydon were caught cold by the home team’s quick hands and quicker feet, conceding several early tries in the process.

The Poppies struggled for a foothold in a frustrating first half. The powerful carrying of Humphrey and Gleig was being successfully rucked and secured by Dammers and Shrimpton. However, as soon as Ruts got a sniff of the ball it ended up beneath Croydon’s posts.

With two minutes to go, Croydon finally started to show signs of what they were capable of and turned over a kick-off to work their way up the pitch. A five metre lineout was illegally spoiled by Ruts and resulted in a sin bin for the opposition. With the Poppies unsure of how to make the most of the following penalty, Lyell took initiative and, in a solo effort, bulldozed through three Ruts players and over the tryline. The half time whistle blew and despite a one-sided scoreline, Croydon rallied behind Lyell’s late try.

In the second half, reliability in the set piece was much welcomed, where Matthews and Griffiths were immovable in the scrum while Defrates dished out successful lineouts like Tom Brady in his prime. Curtis and Bond’s creative distribution was getting recycled and the team were moving forward. A rare Ruts error from a ruck was punished by your humble narrator who escaped with the ball and was gifted a wide open run-in to the posts.

Old Ruts answered back but the match was now much more competitive than in the first half. Billy’s timely message to up the aggression was being received, from Curtis and Shrimpton driving the ball past the gain line, to Cousins and both Smiths hitting everything in defence, to Bond furiously attacking the conversion frame, smashing kicks against both the upright and the crossbar.

In attack, Croydon mirrored the conditions of the changing room, remaining very, very tight. Benefitting from a couple of decisions against Ruts, Bond was able to kick into dangerous territory and lineout maestro Griffiths rolled back the years to roll over two mauls in quick succession, the latter guaranteeing a bonus point for tries scored.

With the clock winding down, there was still time for some unprecedented flair from the backs. Camped inside Ruts’ 22, Bond aimed a chip over the line for Drummey to latch onto in the corner, fighting of competition and breaking over the line to score. Jack’s final effort meant Croydon walked off the pitch with a 24-17 second half victory.

While the overall result wasn’t as favourable, the Poppies could take several positive lessons from the match. Moreover, a first ever try bonus of point showed real attacking promise from the team and a precious point that may make all the difference come the end of the season.

Final Score: Old Rutlishians 64 – 31 Croydon

Tries: Lyell, Biggs, Griffiths (2), Drummey

Conversions: Bond (3)

Notable Mentions:

Gleig: A massive positive to see Sam return to the starting lineup after a lengthy absence, his impact was both immediate and immense. Playing in both the forwards and backs he was seemingly everywhere on the pitch, winning lineouts, creating attacking chances and making a nuisance of himself in defence like a metaphorical (and literal) punch to the balls.

Curtis: Another returning face with a big performance, Ginge shored up the distribution channels. Linking well with Bond and the forwards, he helped transform Croydon’s phase play into a much more dangerous force. Defensively solid, he also made try saving tackles on more than one occasion.

Griffiths: Steve has been central to the lineout, creating moves in training and calling plays in the game. His impact had been instrumental in helping the lineout to become a great attacking platform for the team and this was well demonstrated throughout the match. He played a critical role the success of the set pieces and scored an unexpected but well-deserved brace albeit using Defrates as a human shield.

Lyell: Two tries in two matches, Lyell’s powerful running is a key weapon within the Poppies back line. A destructive force with the ball in hand, he always managed to break the gain line and push the team in the right direction. Scored at a critical moment, completing an individual effort to open Croydon’s account and bring some self-belief to the team, which was built on in the second half.

Surrey Cup Croydon RFC Vs Reigate RFC

Match Report – Croydon Vs Reigate

The first game of 2018 was a chance to blow away the Christmas cobwebs and start fresh after a difficult year. From huge numbers at training despite torrential rain, to a massive contingent of supporters despite Baltic temperatures, the New Year buzz was widespread. Billy’s Aussie flu man cold meant the captain’s armband was given to Yorkie, while Craig Walker’s return from injury to the starting lineup was (allegedly) long awaited and much anticipated by all.

The pack lined up, desperate to show off their newly honed and well-oiled kick reception drills from training but had to wait as Reigate couldn’t kick ten metres. In the following scrum, the solid front row of Griffiths, A. Matthews and S. Matthews put down an early marker, outsizing their opponents and letting them know it would be a long 80 minutes.

Building on early consistency in the set piece and some aggressive ‘Northern’ defending, Croydon set up camp in the opposing half. Frustratingly, the team couldn’t get over the try line but the sustained pressure won a penalty under the posts for Bond to put the Poppies 3-0 up. With powerful runs from Curtis and Drummy combined with solid distribution from Smith and Bond, Croydon knew tries would follow. The only question was who the first scorer of 2018 would be…needless to say, Dammers had the last laugh. Running a piercing supporting line, he sliced through the Reigate defence and touched down under near the posts to cries of “Aha!”

Croydon seemed to be getting into their stride with Shrimpton and Defrates finding repeated success at the break down. From a pile up on the try line, the ball was shipped to Humphrey who crashed over from close range, giving Bond another straightforward conversion. More tries appeared ready for the taking but some Christmas rust and a disagreement with the referee over the finer details of the latest scrummaging laws meant the Poppies were unable to increase their lead and had to settle for finishing the half with the score at 17-0.

After some positive, constructive encouragement from Griffiths, Croydon began the second half fired up. Henderson capitalised on a handling error, stealing the ball from the opposition and sprinting half the pitch to score. Unfortunately, his dazzling run broke his own hamstring as well as Reigate’s spirit. Thankfully, Captain Humphrey was on call to step in for the injured centre and even manage his own steal and 40 metre dash though lacking Jake’s pace and finish.

With complacency setting in from the Poppies, Reigate sensed an opportunity. The bench was emptied with Harvell and Smith adding strength and pace going forward while Cousins, Broadbent and Ware all put in powerful defensive contributions. Yet despite edging the battle in the loose, Croydon lost their grip over the set piece. Turnovers at lineouts and scrums resulted in Reigate walking a 5 metre scrum over the line to prevent a shutout.

Croydon kept pressing for tries but sloppy errors meant opportunities continued to be wasted. With the clock winding down, more line out confusion gave Reigate a penalty on their own ten metre and one final attack. However, Lyell had different ideas and snatched away their last push with an interception to dot down under the posts. The final whistle blew and celebratory music rang around the changing room as the Poppies’ 2018 unbeaten run remained intact.

Final Score Croydon 31 – Reigate 7

Tries: Dammers, Humphrey, Henderson, Lyell

Conversions: Bond (4)

Penalties: Bond

Honourable mentions:

Yorkie: The captain led by example making strong runs with ball in hand and defending like a league player. Fired the team up when needed, scored a deserved try and, with a bit/lot more gas, could have had a second.

Dammers: Demonstrated his learning from training by catching kick offs like Billy catches colds. A constant presence in defence and support. Huge effort was rewarded with a try.

Drummy: The back of the match was one of the few players on the team who can boast being able to run the length of the pitch faster than he can down a pint. A menace to the opposition back line, pressuring his opposite number and refusing to let Reigate play any wide options. Elusive in attack and unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.

Curtis: A composed performance at full back. Great counter running meant Croydon were rarely under pressure when the ball was kicked deep. Ran back and smothered the ball to save what seemed a certain try after an opposition charge down. Attacking runs built solid platforms which led to tries.

Editor's note: Our forward of the match was a new addition to the squad in Matt 'From 4th Floor' Biggs. Matt is quickly proving himself invaluable in the second row and was instrumental in several key turnovers and always a willing ball carrier. He's also too modest to mention himself. 

Match report – Matt Biggs