Hertfordshire Stags were outplayed by Surrey in the set pieces to win the opening encounter of the RFU National U20 Championship 30-21.
Surrey were stronger than the Stags in the scrums in Sunday's game at Weydon School, Farnham, frequently pushing the Stags back and forcing them to concede penalties, and also dominated the line-outs.
In the loose, however,the Stags forwards had the upper hand, both in attack and defence where they worked as a good unit led by skipper No 8 Zac Scott-Grey (Hertford).
With limited ball from the set pieces the backs were able to show their paces in broken play, but fewer handling errors could have produced more rewards.
Both sides took a few minutes to get used to playing on the artificial surface at Weydon School, but Surrey soon showed their scrimmage strength.
They disrupted a Stags' scrum on the Herts 22 and scrum half Toby Dabell (Hartbury Coll) took advantage and swiftly crossed the line for the opening score.
Shortly after a good break by centre Tom Smith (Old Albanian), set up a good position at which Surrey were penalised and Jamie George (Bishop's Stortford) kicked the penalty.
However, Surrey continued to exert pressure and when on the half hour the Stags scrum half was sin-binned for an illegal tackle they took full advantage.
From a line out the drove for the line and put Denzil Boater (Birmingham Univ) over for an unconverted try. That made it 10-3 to Surrey and that remained the score at half-time.
Despite conceding an early penalty which Forbes kicked, the Stags dominated the third quarter.
Good interplay between backs and forwards too play to just shorts of the Surrey line from where hooker Mike Bond (Old Albanian) was driven over for a try which George converted.
Then 10 minutes into the half the Stags took the lead when scrum half Alex Patton (Bishop's Stortford) took a wick penalty on the Surrey 22 and Ed Tidey (Tring) charged over for an unconverted try.
The Stags continued to have the better of play, even winning a line out against the throw. This enabled them to asset up an attack and after taking the ball deep into Surrey territory they recycled and Harry Glennon (Hertford) extended the lead to 20-13 with a try.
Surrey immediately closed the gap via a penalty from Sam Gratton (Chopham) and soon after the Stags received their second yellow card of the match.
This changed the balance somewhat and Surrey came back into the game.
With 10 minutes to go Surrey regained the lead when Alexander Tate (London Irish) scored from a line-out catch and drive.
Then minutes later Konrad Lipinski (Richmond sealed the win with a blistering run from the halfway for the final try. Both these tries were converted by Forbes to make the final score 30-20 to Surrey.
The Stags' next match is against Essex U20 on February 26 at Thurrock RFC.
Hertfordshire: Tom Fawssett (Fullerians); Julien Manieson (Fullerians); Tom Smith (Old Albanian); Brandon Bowden (Bishop's Stortford); David Sprigens (Saracens Amateur); Jamie George (Bishop's Stortford); Alex Patton (Bishop's Stortford); Lewis Wardle-Bird (Hertford); Mike Bond (Old Albanian); Steve McKenzie-Cardi (Finchley); Dan Wilton (Tring); Teddy Oliver (Bishop's Stortford); Sam Tanton (Old Albanian); Teddy King (Bishop's Stortford); Zac Scott-Grey (Hertford).
Replacements: (all used) Jordan Macdonald (Leeds Beckett Univ); Liam Shields (Hertford); Ethan Renney (Enfield Ignatians); Ed Tidey (Tring); Matt Bendin (Hertford); Charlie Dollard (Fullerians); Harry Glennon (Hertford).