Banstead’s Matt Spriegel reckons Surrey can match Harlequins by bouncing back from relegation a stronger club, but admits it may take time.

The 21-year-old signed a two-year deal at the Oval earlier this month after impressing with the bat during an otherwise disastrous season for the Brown Caps that cost coach Alan Butcher his job.

Surrey dropped out of the Liverpool Victoria County Championship Division One without winning a match and won only nine games in three other domestic competitions.

Quins, relegated from the Premiership in 2005, are among the early season pace-setters in rugby’s top flight and look good for a spot in the knock-out stages of the European Cup.

Director of rugby Dean Richards blooded a host of youngsters during a season in National Division One, who are now the mainstay of the team and pushing for international honours.

And Spriegel, who is joined in the Surrey squad next year by fellow Academy graduates Malden Wanderers Laurie Evans and Sutton’s Arun Harinath, believes the side can achieve something similar if given time.

“It was obviously disappointing to get relegated, but if the team hadn’t been struggling I probably would never have been given the chance,” he said.

“The younger players have been given a great opportunity to prove themselves, some - like Jade Dernbach and Chris Jordan - have already done so.

“There is a great chance for the club to develop. There is not too much pressure to bounce back. If it takes us a little bit longer then the younger players will have some good experience under their belts.

“It would be stupid to have a massive clear out. You can’t just get rid of the experience the likes of Mark Butcher and Mark Ramprakash have. They are still big players for us.”

Spriegel hit a maiden first-class half-century against Nottinghamshire in a break through season that saw him make his debut at former stomping ground Whitgift School.

And he hopes it won’t be long before he converts his first three-figure score for the club.

“They say your second season in county cricket is the hardest. There are things I’ve learnt and there are things I need to work on,” he added.

“My best so far is 51 and hopefully it won’t be too long before I make that a century.

“All I can do is make sure I work on my technique over the winter and make sure I’m in the side for the first match. If it happens, it happens.”