Braintree almost down after big defeat to Ruislip
London 1 North - Ruislip 39 Braintree 0
BRAINTREE’S relegation fate was all but sealed as they turned in their poorest performance of the season to date, in Middlesex, on Saturday.
Any hopes that the unforeseen break would enable the black and ambers to recharge their batteries in readiness for one last bid to avoid the drop were destroyed in a seven-try blitz by their hosts.
Braintree were already without key players such as Daryl Coote, Mark Loftus, Craig Willis, Guthrie Holliday and Dave Baker through injury.
But their woes increased when forward Dan Johnston was involved in a collision on his way to the game and forced to pull out of an already threadbare side.
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The 15 players who took to the field in driving rain and high winds gave their all in the first half as they played up the slope at Ruislip’s ground.
But they found themselves almost exclusively on the back foot and when they finally did gain possession they either failed to make ground or needlessly kicked it away.
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Ruislip went ahead on 18 minutes when full-back Antonio Trofa scored an unconverted try in the left-hand corner to give his side a 5-0 lead.
The visitors were defending well and managed to keep the hosts at bay until the half-hour mark when their open-side flanker crossed the line for another unconverted score.
The Essex side’s management team were quietly hopeful of making a game of it in the second period but they suffered a hammer blow on the stroke of half-time.
Ruislip hacked the ball through on the break and although Braintree full-back Will Stanhope collected it, he had to adjust his footing for the clearance kick and the delay enabled it to be charged down.
The home side’s scrum-half scooped up the bouncing ball and crashed over the line for a try that was converted by their wing for a 17-0 interval lead.
Braintree were playing with the slope in the second half but the game was effectively over as a contest on 48 minutes when Ruislip’s fly-half crossed the line for an unconverted score to extend their lead to 22- 0.
Things started to fall apart for the visitors and they conceded a fifth try to the hosts’ inside centre on 50 minutes, the resulting conversion stretching their lead to 29-0.
Further unconverted tries by Ruislip’s outside centre on 70 minutes and their other winger five minutes later rounded off a convincing win for the Middlesex side.