LONDON 2 NORTH: Braintree 30 Rochford Hundred 37

Braintree’s promising start to the season seems like a distant memory after a fourth straight league defeat.

The game started well for Braintree when Dan Kerr crashed over the line from close range, enabling stand-off and top points scorer Jamie Masters to kick the extra points for a 7-0 lead.

But Rochford hit back four minutes later courtesy of an unconverted try from Michael Stemp.

A second try for the visitors arrived via prop Scott Chivers, Tom Ashton converting to put the south Essex side 12-7 ahead.

The hosts levelled the scores on 16 minutes when flanker Tom Carslake scored from close range.

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Rochford regained the advantage on 22 minutes when fly-half Dan Needham scored their third try, Ashton converting for a 19-12 lead.

Braintree shuffled their forward resources by bringing Jake Avitable and Joe Stevens on for Paul Aldridge and Dan Kerr respectively but there was no further score in the first half.

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After the break, a Masters penalty on 42 minutes reduced the arrears to 15-19, but Rochford kept finding ways through the hosts’ defence.

On 50 minutes hooker Tom Corbet crashed over for a try that was converted by Ashton.

Another Masters penalty pegged the visitors back to 26-18 but they then scored a penalty of their own to re-establish their 11-point lead.

Braintree clawed their way back through Chris Ford, but another Rochford penalty by Ashton put the visitors 32-23 in front.

When winger Tom Bavington crashed over for another try two minutes later, it was game over.

Braintree still managed one last flourish, Whyatt securing a second bonus point from a tap-and-go penalty by Adams, with Masters converting.

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