London 2 North: Braintree 27 Basildon 17

The hosts started 2014 with a much-needed win as they gained revenge over Basildon with a deserved bonus point win in an entertaining game.

The soggy conditions made ball handling and running difficult for both sides but it was Braintree who adapted better to the challenge of staying upright.

But true to form they made their supporters sweat until the final whistle by allowing Basildon to come within seven points, after establishing a 24-0 lead.

The black and ambers took the lead after only 10 minutes when a defensive clearance by the visitors was collected by winger George Crane. He found scrum-half Joss Adams who kicked over the heads of the Basildon defence before collecting the ball to score out wide.

A superb touchline conversion by fly-half Kingsley Joslin gave the home side a 7-0 lead which they extended just six minutes later, skipper and number 8 John Smillie picking up the ball and combining superbly with flanker Charlie Marsden, who burst through to score. The conversion was missed.

An outrageous dummy from Joslin on 24 minutes enabled Braintree to go 17-0 ahead after he scored following yet more impressive link-up play between Smillie and Marsden.

Things were looking even rosier for Braintree after the break when they continued to convert their territorial advantage into points, scoring a penalty try on 45 minutes.

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Basildon ignored repeated warnings from the referee during several attempts to reset a scrum and he eventually lost his patience and awarded the hosts a bonus point-earning try to give them a 24-0 lead.

After a triple substitution from Braintree, Basildon got back into the game and the visitors hauled the score back to 24-17, thanks to a converted try from Ross Boshier and further unconverted tries from Ben Brown and David Berg.

Braintree breathed a sigh of relief with a minute left when Jamie Masters kicked a 40-yard penalty in added-on time.