Braintree RFC achieve promotion after nail-biting play-off

LONDON NE2 & NW2 PLAY-OFF Braintree 24 Harpenden 14

BRAINTREE earned a place in London North One next season after securing a deserved victory against worthy Harpenden in a pulsating play-off encounter.

Gary Coote’s battle-weary troops were forced to dig deep into their reserves of strength as the significance of the occasion set nerves jangling in the April sunshine at Robbs Wood.

But they earned their just rewards as they narrowly edged a closely contested match to cap a fine 2010/11 campaign with the glory of promotion.

There were jubilant scenes as the final whistle sounded and the black and ambers celebrated on the pitch with their loyal supporters.

Braintree chairman of selectors Jeff Lewis said: “The boys thoroughly deserved to win promotion after a fine season.

“Harpenden were very capable opponents and we struggled for long periods. It was almost as if we were trying too hard because we were almost getting in each other’s way.

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“In the end we had the class to get our noses in front but it was still a great relief to hear the final whistle.”

Lewis said life in London North One would prove a stern challenge for Tree, who would look to consolidate their position in the higher league as their priority for the 2011/12 campaign.