Ipswich improve but still lose

RUGBY UNION: Ipswich 20 Old Albanians 22. Ipswich lost out in the dying seconds of an enthralling London Division Two North encounter on Saturday, but they won back the hearts of their supporters, after taking the game to Old Albanians, and making most of the running throughout the afternoon.


Ipswich 20 Old Albanians 22

IPSWICH lost out in the dying seconds of an enthralling London Division Two North encounter on Saturday, but they won back the hearts of their supporters, after taking the game to Old Albanians, and making most of the running throughout the afternoon.

After the previous week's disappointments, when Ipswich discipline was at its worst, they completely transformed their performance, concentrating on the ball, making their tackles, and above all, maintaining their self-control.

They needed to be at their best, as high-flying Old Albanians made an impressive start. Harding, the inspirational full-back, put in a series of crucial tackles early on, as did winger Keeling, to keep the visitors out.

The outstanding player for OAs was No. 8 Eke, whose drives into midfield created openings for his supporting forwards to penetrate, and it was Eke who finally opened the scoring, crashing over from five metres out.

Most Read

Ipswich dominated at the line-out, and set up some devastating drives. Hall released quick ball to Coker, who found Brotherton, who drove through the defence before finding Harding, who broke clear to score under the posts. Coker converted, and Ipswich turned round 7-5 in the lead.

The second-half was a seesaw event as scores came at regular intervals.

First OAs broke down the blind side from a scrum and centre Walker dived for the line, dropping the ball as he tried to score. Unfortunately for Ipswich, the referee was unsighted, and awarded a try and the visitors went in front at 12-7.

Ipswich responded and drove upfield. They kept pounding away until cracks appeared, with flanker Garbett, who had moved into the front row to deputise for the injured Williams, squeezing down the touchline to score.

Once again OAs responded with a well-worked converted try which put them 19-12 ahead.

Ipswich did not allow their heads to drop, as Van Heerden came on for his last game for the club before he returns to South Africa next week.

He immediately created problems, attacking the ball with Brotherton at his side to create openings. When Brotherton cut through he fed the ball to Novosad, who picked the ball off his bootlaces, and dived in for the try of the afternoon. The conversion attempt from Hughes failed.

Moments later Ipswich won a penalty as OAs collapsed a maul, and Brotherton stepped up, and coolly converted to delight the home crowd with a 20-19 lead.

With almost three minutes of extra-time played the OAs winger could find no way through the Ipswich defence. He kicked ahead, and gathered the ball, but as he was tackled, Ipswich tried to pick up the ball.

The referee interpreted it as hands in the ruck. He could have just as easily penalised Old A's for not releasing, but OAs kick sailed through the posts to snatch victory.

Wymondham 5 Hadleigh 16

HADLEIGH, buoyed by last week's cup win over local rivals Ipswich, kept up their winning ways in London Division Three North East despite having to juggle their pack due to unavailabilities.

Chris Lander and Gary King came into the second row and John Roper moved to No. 8 but it took the visitors a little time to settle and they found themselves five points down almost from the kick-off.

A blindside break and good use of an overlap saw the Wymondham outside centre score.

Hadleigh began to exert themselves and Ian Fraser, playing at outside centre in place of Berriman, kicked two penalties in quick succession.

Then Hadleigh scored a try from a five-metre line-out through Dexter to lead 11-5 at half time.

Wymondham missed a penalty awarded for a scrum offence and Hadleigh sprang to life. Tully used quick ball from a ruck to find Namadilla, who went over for an unconverted try.

Canvey Island 7 Stowmarket 33

STOWMARKET kept up their good run in Eastern Counties Division One with a fine win away to Canvey Island.

Despite travelling without five first-choice forwards, Stowmarket worked hard as a unit and Crowe and Seru made breakthroughs and were quickly in support of the rucks set by Norfolk, Whitehouse and Robertson.

A series of these phases led to the opening try for winger Baker who dived into the corner, with Lawson slotting the conversion.

Lansdown returned at tight-head prop after two years and impressed, as the Stowmarket pressure intensified.

Fijian Seru stepped through the defence to score the first of his three tries under the posts and from a good piece of open play centre Beaton popped to his partner Tue, who ran in unopposed for the next try.

Leading 21-0 at the turn, Pearmain controlled the pack and Roberts led the backline and soon enough Seru was over for his second.

Canvey did hit back with a simple but effective move from a line-out and their scrum-half scored a try which was converted.

However, it was Stowmarket, and Seru, who had the final say after a long passage of play concluding with him completing his hat-trick.

Thurston 35 Cantabs 6

FULL of confidence, and playing up the hill into the elements, Thurston started as they had finished last week, with another Mills trademark try and conversion.

The forwards were dominant from the start. Melvin and man of the match Edgar were first to any breakdown, while Chapman, Proctor and Joyce had the better of their opposition in the scrum.

A scintillating break from Tully enabled the evergreen Green to canter under the posts with Mills converting. Mills and Cantabs' kicker Flintstone exchanged penalties but the second half saw Thurston put Cantabs out of the game.

Strong defence from Wreathall and great rucking from the forwards enabled Adams to scythe through Cantabs' backs, displaying a nimbleness rarely seen at Robinson Field for a splendid solo try. As Cantabs' spirits flagged Speed ghosted through their defence for his first official try of the season.

Mills converted and added a drop goal to complete a full house and cap a splendid day for Thurston.