Stowmarket prevail over Southwold in clash of unbeaten sides
- Credit: Archant
London 3 Eastern Counties Stowmarket 23 Southwold 17 The eagerly-awaited clash between the last two undefeated sides in the division fully lived up to the pre-match hype, and was one of the best games seen at Chilton Fields for several seasons.
Stowmarket, playing with the conditions, took a fully deserved lead with two well-struck Dan Garrard penalties, but with both sides pushing hard for further scores it was Southwold who broke the deadlock with a well deserved Cemil Duruk try in the corner.
Rather than retreat into their shell Stowmarket played controlled aggressive rugby in the Southwold half and were again rewarded when from flowing play the pace of Garrard took him through a hole for a try converted by himself.
More pressure from the home side saw a line-out won in the opposition 22, and fly-half Tom Crowe took the ball right to the gain line before off-loading to centre Stuart Hill to crash over the line with, Garrard again converting.
Further visits to the Southwold half saw Garrard kick another penalty to take the half-time score to 23–5.
Southwold had generally looked better in the scrum and this became a cause of concern in the second half as injuries forced off a couple of the Stowmarket starters in the scrum.
This, combined with some loose play by the home team, allowed Southwold onto the front foot, a position they rarely retreated from in the first 20 minutes of the half, and it was only extremely determined defence by the home team that saw the visitors restricted to two Matt Howell tries and one conversion.
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With 20 minutes still left to play it looked difficult for the home side to hang on, even though they were still able to make the occasional visit to the Southwold 22 they were generally defending, but every player committed to the cause.
The final couple of minutes saw Southwold throw everything they had at Stowmarket and they spent the entire period in the 22 but were unable to breach the home defence.
This was an excellent win for Stowmarket, and thoughts will now turn to next week’s visit to Ely.