Croydon dreaming of Twickenham

Croydon Rugby Club are on the verge of one of the biggest days in their history as they aim for the RFU Junior Vase regional final this Saturday.

The Surrey One club beat Uxbridge 25-20 in a thrilling contest in last weekend’s quarter final and now face Harrow, only beaten once in Hertfordshire and Middlesex Two this season, this weekend for a place in the regional against either London Exiles or Catabrigian.

It leaves them three games from a potential trip to Twickenham in the national finals of the competition.

Director of rugby Malcolm Dexter-Tissington OBE only took over at the Addington-based club 18 months ago but has been instrumental in their turnaround.

“It was very much a sleeping club that had been very comfortable,” he said.

“They won a few, lost a few and were happy in the middle of Surrey One but they were not going anywhere.

“I was brought in to try and change that and it’s been a slow process but one the players have really made work.

“We tried to change the training ethos and equipment and get the basics to make it work and it seems to be.

“Surrey One is a pretty strong league this year, everybody is at the same level and that has maybe helped us.”

Sam Clarkson scored the winning try with the final passage of play on Saturday just as it looked like the game was going to extra time.

Will Salvidge had earlier scored a hat-trick of tries before Uxbridge levelled scores with a penalty with three minutes left.

“I had told my last substitute to get ready as I was going to bring him on for extra time,” added Dexter-Tissington.

“But we just took control and got it together and scored a brilliant try that involved passes among the backs in a game dominated by the forwards because of the muddy and wet conditions.

“This Saturday is going to be an interesting game, they have gone from London Two down to Hertfordshire Three and now look like going back up to Hertfordshire One again.

“But we are really looking forward to the opportunity."

Croydon’s achievements have been helped by sponsors paying for team coaches to games.

Follow me on Twitter: @GrahamMoody

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