The History of the Surrey Under 22
In the Christmas holiday of 2005, three clubs (Old Reigatian, Dorking and Sutton & Epsom,) played a series of Under 21 matches, as clubs began to realise that with the success and growth of junior rugby there were many players, who had come through the junior ranks, wanting to play for their clubs against the old rivals and new university mates. Such was the enthusiasm from the players that these three clubs and Effingham & Leatherhead decided to start a Cup competition in 2006/07.
Played over the Christmas break with the final two games taking place simultaneously at Old Reigatians, it was the hosts who won the inaugural Cup. The following year the same four clubs competed with Sutton & Epsom winning. In 2009/10 news of the competition spread, the entrants expanded to twelve clubs and in time the Plate, Shield and Bowl trophies were introduced so that all teams had the opportunity to play competitive rugby through the season.
This growth has continued to this year where we had twenty three sides enter.
Such has been the success of the competition, there are now two tiers (the John Douglas and Development Tier) with seven trophies to offer competitive rugby to the clubs throughout the season. Several clubs today have the bulk of their squads based around players who started out at Under 21 level, as well as using this as a method of recruiting new players through the university connections of their existing players.
The benefits of providing an extra level of competitive rugby at this period of transition to senior rugby have been plenty and much praise goes to Surrey Rugby for their total support while managing the RFU Under 20 and 23 Level competitions.