Ian the hero as YM stretch lead

RUGBY UNION: Ipswich YM 12 Thurston 7. Centre Ian Girling grabbed two tries to inspire Ipswich YM into a six-point lead at the top of Eastern Counties League Division Two North.


Ipswich YM 12 Thurston 7

CENTRE Ian Girling grabbed two tries to inspire Ipswich YM into a six-point lead at the top of Eastern Counties League Division Two North.

Second-in-the-table Thurston applied themselves throughout and made their hosts work hard for a 12-7 victory.

However, an over-eager YM pack gave away far too many penalties so that the scoreline remained close.

Outweighing their opponents at the scrums and driving hard, the YM dominated possession.

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It was another trademark burst from fly-half John Mitchell that led to the first score.

His pace saw him dart through a gap, passing on to Girling who raced away to touch down under the sticks. Phil Watts kicked the conversion.

Thurston replied well and their own number ten, Andy Mills, was unlucky with a long-range penalty.

The second half was more evenly balanced with Thurston flanker Rob Procter battling it out with YM back-rowers Derek Cawston and Lee Elliston.

Thurston full-back Chris Tully was as dangerous as ever and Simon Tomlin had to be at his tackling best to deny a number of breakaway chances.

Gradually, superior fitness and superb linking from the YM pack began to tell.

Bursts from hooker Simon Podd and skipper Andy Farmer left a trail of bodies before a scrum close to the Thurston line saw Barrie Alford pick up and feed Cawston, who unselfishly gifted Girling his second try.

Mills gave the visitors hope when he sliced his way through a tackle to score under the posts, converting the try himself.

However, that proved to be too little too late as the hosts retook a grip on proceedings and closed out the game.

Stowmarket 73 Midhurst 0

SUSSEX side Midhurst won through three rounds of the Powergen Junior Vase to earn a trip to Stowmarket where their reward was an 11-try hammering.

There was an unusual start when the referee was injured within a couple of minutes and, after a delay, was replaced by the 2nd XV official.

It took Stowmarket 15 minutes to score the first try through centre Paul Roberts.

The hosts had earlier missed earlier opportunities through handling errors, bad decisions and players taking the ball on too far.

Midhurst were resolute in defence. However, the home pack was dominant and the backs constantly had overlaps, but didn't take full advantage.

Even so, by half-time the score was 40-0, with tries from Bruce Beaton, Clive Taylor and Steve Clarke.

Fly-half John Lawson had to be replaced due to a hamstring injury but even so the second half saw some great passages of play, with Taylor, Cooper, Bidwell and Clarke all supporting well.

Tries were run in at regular intervals by Tuitubou, Ian Brown, Robertson and a driving scrum gave Neil Pearmain one of his classic step-over and score tries. Kicker Rhys Jones made nine from 11 to finish off the Sussex side.

Despite the big win, coach Liebenberg was not impressed with the number of opportunites missed and training this week will remain intense and focused before Saturday's crucial Eastern Counties Division One North showdown with Colchester.

Saffron Walden 13 Hadleigh 0

HADLEIGH showed a vast improvement in discipline and their defence was generally excellent, but ultimately they were let down by a lack of cohesion going forward which resulted in them having nothing to show for their efforts in London Division Three North East.

Hadleigh were pegged back in their own half for much of the first half-hour.

Eventually a rolling maul led to a dubious grounding of the ball over the line which gave the home team a converted try.

Fine running by Jerry Namadila, on his return, Nick Eady, Dave Gosling and Reagen Berryman made inroads into the Saffron Walden defence, but to no avail.

The forwards were well marshalled by Ian Fraser at scrum-half but found it hard going, while Michael Dexter led the way in the loose.

John Roper showed his loss of weight to be a bonus to his speed and he covered the pitch like a rash, but it was not to be Hadleigh's day as Saffron Walden slotted two easy penalties in the second half to complete their win.

HADLEIGH 2nds beat Clacton 26-0 with captain John Squirrell, Neil Crisp, Adam Miles and Mark Winters scoring tries and Scott Kelly (two) and Miles kicking conversions.

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