By Mark Bruce
Gravesend lost out by just two points as Sutton & Epsom won the sides’ Regional 2 South East clash 21-19.
Buoyed by a large and vociferous crowd and in the knowledge anything less than a win could see the home side dragged into a relegation dogfight, Sutton were first on the scoreboard.
Gravesend were enjoying the majority of possession and territory but failed to capitalise until, from a driving maul, Brendan Kelly popped up with the ball. In what was ultimately to prove the difference between the teams, the conversion agonisingly hit the left upright.
The game then ebbed and flowed with Sutton exerting a good spell of pressure but - as became the order of the day - just when Gravesend looked like they were wrestling themselves back into contention Sutton scored in quick order.
Matt Brady went over to cut the deficit to two points before a yellow card reduced the visitors to 14 men. With the numerical advantage, Sutton went over again, although Gravesend did respond with Chris Brady to set up an enthralling finish.
It was not to be, however, as Gs were left hanging on for the one bonus point. They will rue the three chances that should have led to tries, but poor decision-making meant they failed to score on each occasion.
Gravesend, in 10th, are next in action on February 17 at home to ninth-placed Old Colfeians.