Braintree undone at local rivals

BRAINTREE remain in seventh place in London Two North East after a defeat which flattered their Essex rivals.

London Two North East

Chelmsford 28 Braintree 14

BRAINTREE remain in seventh place in London Two North East after a defeat which flattered their Essex rivals.

The black and ambers showed flashes of the early season form which catapulted them as high as second in the table earlier in the campaign.


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But a combination of marginal refereeing decisions and individual errors saw them flounder on Chelmsford’s legendary slope.

Braintree kicked off with the slope against them and found themselves on the back foot early on as their hosts put them under sustained pressure.

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So it was no surprise when the home side took the lead on 11 minutes courtesy of a Tom Morrish penalty.

But there was a glimmer of hope for the visiting spectators when they stormed into the lead five minutes later.

The black and ambers won a try on Chelmsford’s 10-metre line and the ball was fed through the backs with quick hands until Tom Green put rampaging full-back Darren Page in for a great try in the corner.

Craig Willis popped over a fine conversion from out wide to give his side a 7-3 lead which they held for less than a minute.

Chelmsford capitalised on a defensive fumble by turning the ball over and feeding it out wide to their left winger who scored an unconverted try in the corner.

The hosts stretched their advantage on 23 minutes when their right-wing took the ball from his own 22 to Braintree’s before passing inside to Morrish who crashed over and then converted his own score with an accurate kick.

Morrish then kicked a penalty given for an infringement which saw Braintree No. 8 Nick McClements yellow-carded to make the score 18-7.

But five minutes before the interval the visitors roared back into contention when fine work by Mark Loftus and Neil Fitzearle enabled Page to score his second try of the game.

Willis was once again on hand to grab the extra points from a difficult angle and the black and ambers turned round just 18-14 down.

With the slope now in their favour David Paton’s men should have been able to overhaul the deficit but the game quickly got bogged down in a defensive battle.

A series of baffling refereeing decisions didn’t help matters and it proved a sickening blow when Morrish kicked a 78th minute penalty after Page was yellow-carded to make it 21-14.

The hosts still had time for an interception try as Braintree pressed forward in the hope of salvaging something from the game, Morrish converting to put the gloss on a flattering win.

Braintree chairman of selectors Jeff Lewis said: “It was a bit of a curate’s egg of a performance by us. We were impressive at times and far from it at others.

“In both this game and last weekend’s defeat to Enfield we have shown flashes of the early season form which saw us breathing down Thurrock’s necks, but to no avail.

“I just hope we can end the season in style with a win at Saffron Walden next weekend and I urge as many of our followers to make the trip over to Henham to support us.”

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