Southwold outlast Stowmarket in classic battle of top two
- Credit: Archant
London 3 Eastern Counties Southwold 30 Stowmarket 27 The match-up between the top two teams in London 3 Eastern Counties proved to be an all-time classic which will live long in the memory of those lucky enough to be there, writes David Vaughan.
‘Wold opened the scoring in under a minute when the ball was fed out to Callum Anthony, who drew the defence in before feeding Jacob English with a perfect pass to race in under the posts to make it 7-0.
A little over ten minutes later it was 12-0 as Josh Wallis crossed for the home side’s second try, though the conversion was missed. Sammy Harmer added a penalty and it was 15-0, with all looking rosy for ‘Wold.
Stow rallied and on the half hour mark their forwards drove and were rewarded with a well-deserved try which was duly converted to reduce the deficit to 15-7, which became 15-10 after a penalty just before the break.
The visitors came out fighting in the second half and in under four minutes had taken the lead when they kicked for the left corner from a penalty, won good line-out ball and smashed over for a great try on the right of the posts. The conversion was good and Stow led 17-15, but not for long.
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Another Harmer penalty restored Wold’s lead at 18 -17 just two minutes later and the game was becoming exhilarating.
Ten minutes later Wold held on to the ball in a tackle in their own 22, when they decided to run instead of clearing their lines, and were duly punished with another three points to Stow from the kick. 20-18 Stow.
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Both teams upped their game constantly as the match progressed, but it was Wold who grabbed the lead back when the ball flew down the back line to the right and Harmer made good yards before feeding Cemil Duruk to score. Harmer nailed the extras and it was 25-20 ‘Wold.
But it wasn’t over – two minutes before time, Stow broke from a free-kick and scored a converted try to make it 27-25 with barely a minute left. The home supporters were stunned into silence.
Something incredible then happed as ‘Wold kicked off and managed to gain possession. Knowing the game would stop at the next whistle, they simply kept possession until the ball span out to Duruk on the wing who went over in the corner for a try that will never be forgotten, in a game that had everything.
Both sides remain locked on 66 points at the top of the league, with the title looking set to go down to the wire.