RUGBY ROUND-UP: How did your local team fare?
LONDON 1 NORTH
Bury St Edmunds 77
BURY made it a perfect ten bonus-point wins from ten with a comfortable win over a hard-working Basildon side.
After a first-half that Bury had to scrap hard for to establish a lead, they simply overwhelmed the visitors in the second period, Harry Gooderham ending the game with five tries.
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Brenton Krammer converted the second of his two early penalty attempts to give Bury a 3-0 lead.
However, for the next ten minutes, Basildon laid siege to the Bury line. A penalty that was kicked into the corner gave the visitors several attempts to drive over from close-range, but they could not break down Bury.
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The hosts then broke free and the ball eventually fell to Gooderham, 30 metres out, who side-stepped his way over for a glorious solo try.
Basildon rallied well and played with some real enterprise. A try may have been forthcoming had it not been for a knock-on.
The visitors’ defence was constantly stretched and it was no surprise when referee Mat Rozier yellow-carded the Basildon No 8 for persistent offside.
Just before the break, Bury scored the second try of the match, Gooderham sliding over again.
Following a strong run by James Machlachlan and a strong drive by winger Josh Borley, Bury created an attacking ten-metre scrum at the start of the second half.
Eddison peeled off a slightly wayward scrum and the quick ball to Eggars was all that was needed to get the scoreboard ticking.
Basildon were struggling to get a foot-hold in the match and after Gooderham caught the ball deep in his own half and linked well with Krammer, a final pass found Will Martin who scored.
The hosts then put their opponents out of sight, Gooderham completing his hat-trick and Krammer’s excellent touchline conversion made it 36-0.
Gooderham scored his fourth try shortly after, before Matt Page raced 65 metres to score an unconverted try.
The visitors continued to try and break down Bury, but a turnover saw Page race away, before the ball eventually found Sam Bixby who powered over a converted try.
Basildon were then punished for missing touch with a clearance kick. and Will Martin pounced for a try.
A tired visiting defence switched off at the scrum and Alex Lee scampered off down the blind-side to score an unconverted try from half-way.
With the home spectators expecting Bury to go for a push over try, after a Bixby charge, the players defied expectation with Will Martin executing a cross-field kick to Krammer. The Kiwi simply fixed his opposite number before passing to Gooderham for an incredible fifth try.
Krammer, who had hit the posts three times, finally managed the conversion.
Bury scored again from the last period of play, Martin scoring the try and Krammer adding the extras.
LONDON 2 NORTH Ipswich 83 Stevenage 15
IPSWICH ended the first half in command, leading 31-10, thanks to scores from Carlton Littlechild and two tries apiece, courtesy of Chris Blom and Tim Hopkins.
Three of the tries were converted by debutant Will Davies in a first-half in which Brad James was sin-binned and Stevenage scored two unconverted tries.
Within ten minutes of the re-start, Ipswich were down to 13 men with Ross Barker and Joe Manning left to rue the consequences of swearing at the referee.
For just a short period Stevenage were asking questions that their hosts could not answer.
However, in this company, the home side’s reliance on their backs to score from anywhere was rewarded on 55 minutes when a flowing move saw Tim Hopkins go over for a converted try.
Six more tries followed for Ipswich, with two for Littlechild and Hopkins and one each for Brad James and Liam Brittain. Five of these were converted.
Among this scorefest, Stevenage still managed to score another unconverted try.
EASTERN COUNTIES 1 Ipswich YM 91 Southwold 5
PLAYING only their second home league game of the season, the YM were keen to right the wrongs of the previous defeat by Newmarket.
YM gave a weak Southwold side a complete rugby masterclass.
From the off it was clear that the strong YM pack were going to over-power Southwold at every opportunity.
The YM forwards clinically executed scrums and line-outs with precision and cleared ruck after ruck to provide Jamie Curtis with the best ball he has had all season.
The YM took five to ten minutes to get going, a sole negative on a day full of positives.
The mercurial Carlton Ford has found the form of his life and started proceedings with a great finish, following some great phase play by the YM.
Following a turnover by the ever-impressive Sam Fox and some well-worked phases, Curtis dropped a clever box-kick behind the Southwold defence and Travis Kenny reacted to charge down the attempted clearance and scored the second try of afternoon.
As ever, Elliston was regularly adding the extras with the boot.
Shortly afterwards Ford added his second try of the day, before Ricky Lea raced away to score in the corner.
The forwards continued to turn the screw and Curtis fed Kenny for one of the easiest tries of the afternoon.
The last try of the first -half was scored following a clean break. Lea passed to Howard and he wriggled over in the corner.
The YM ruthlessly set about the second half with a keen thirst for more tries and Ipswich’s backs would score a further eight tries in this half, including Ford’s hat-trick.
To give Southwold their due they battled hard to the end and were rewarded with a well-worked try following some good forward work.
Kenny also managed to complete his hat-trick to cap a successful day for the YM’s back three.
Eastern Counties 2 Haverhill 10 Norwich Union 12
HAVERHILL’S inspirational playmaker Ricky Brown broke his hand in the first move of the game and that saw Michael Lansdowne move into the back-row and Monty Beaton drop into the inside-centre position.
When a player who is always first to the breakdown is lost in this way, it can lead to a change in dynamics, and something seemed to be missing from the Haverhill game that was eventually punished by the opposition.
Haverhill got onto the scoreboard on 20 minutes when Gavin Hope released skipper Adam Hunt, who embarked on a superb 45-metre run to score.
In the strong swirling wind, Kieran Ewens’ kick was looking good, but slipped past the left post for 5-0.
Haverhill were holding a good scrum, but the line-out ball was not good.
Mike Woods was impressive in the full-back position and the boot of Ewens was able to make huge inroads into the Norwich half.
It was one of those kicks from a Norwich infringement on 35 minutes that allowed Dan Bishop to gather in the line-out, punching a hole in the Norwich defence.
That released Beaton for a great individual try 35 metres out to make the score 10-0. Again the wind did not help the kicker Ewens with the conversion slipping wide.
From the restart, a super Ewens move epitomised a lot of what was different between the previous week’s flowing rugby and this game.
A great chip-kick and gather led to a great scoring opportunity, but the pass did not go to hand.
Dan Harris was replaced by Darren Carew on 46 minutes and then Norwich started to apply pressure.
Haverhill held off for ten minutes, but finally, Norwich crossed in the corner for 10-5.
Again the wind caused the conversion to slip past the post.
Haverhill continued to attack, but silly infringements caused the moves to break down at the vital moment.
With 20 minutes to go, the wind stopped blowing which was to prove the undoing of the home side.
Ben Jackson replaced Carew on 70 minutes and Norwich continued to attack.
With the minutes being counted down, Haverhill finally broke out of their 22-metre line and into the Norwich half with three minutes to play.
This should have been the end of the game. Norwich’s only chance to draw level or win was with a try and conversion.
Haverhill should have played forward rugby, driving and setting. But they chose to play expansive ball, lost it and Norwich manage to break up the park.
On 79 minutes, Hope was shown a yellow card for an infringement, five-metres out and the resulting penalty was passed to the Norwich man-mountain of a prop, who could not be stopped and scored in the corner.
With no wind to interfere with the flight of the ball, the Norwich kicker landed the two extra points before the whistle blew for full-time and a defeat for the hosts.
SUFFOLK MERIT LEAGUE 1 Colchester 3rd 13 Thorpeness 12
THE match saw Thorpeness play with the wind in the first half and they enjoyed a lot of territory, using a good kicking game.
During one foray into Colchester territory, Thorpeness managed to cross for a well-worked try for Jason Hitz.
A young Colchester side ran back at every opportunity, being kept at bay by some fantastic defence, especially when the first-half ran an additional five minutes.
By half-time the score was only 5-5 but the second-half saw the wind drop and a really good game evolved with both sides running at each other,
However, both defences coming out on top.
Thorpeness managed to make the breakthrough and score another try with Hitz again breaking through, and James Cook converting.
Colchester stuck at the task and, as both sides continued to try and score, the game began moving from end to end, Colchester scored in the corner, the conversion being missed.
The game continued in the same manner as it went into the last ten minutes, then Colchester were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and took the lead 13-12.
Thorpeness, with time running out, fought back into the Colchester half and pushed for a chance at some points but time ran out and a game which they should have won slipped away.