Ipswich unable to buck trend

RUGBY UNION: Results and reports from all the rugby union matches featuring our local teams.

Bishop's Stortford 30 Ipswich 21

BISHOP'S Stortford have been one of the most consistent sides in the league during the past few years and not many sides have turned them over at home, and on Saturday Ipswich were unable to buck that trend.

The home side fielded a well-drilled pack, driven on from the base of the scrum by a powerful No. 8, and a busy scrum-half.

From a five-metre line-out, Ipswich repelled the home team's drive four or five times, but just as it seemed they had weathered the storm, the Stortford fly-half put in a deft little chip-kick, which his centre dived on to open the scoring.

This sparked Ipswich on to the offensive, and they won a short line-out, with Brotherton breaking through the defence and feeding Van Heerden, who crashed over to level the scores.

Ipswich looked dangerous every time they moved the ball wide with Andrew Novosad and flying winger Ryan looking dangerous whenever they gained possession.

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But Stortford always had the edge in the scrums, and disrupted Ipswich's ball time and time again, denying them a platform from which to let loose the backs.

The sides exchanged penalties but the home team took a 17-10 half-time lead when their No. 8 broke through three despairing tackles for a converted try.

Another score early in the second half put Stortford in control. From a poor clearance kick, their flanker picked up the ball at full speed and there was little the defence could do to stop him.

Ipswich had fallen 24-10 behind, which took the wind and confidence out of them for the best part of 20 minutes.

During this spell, Ipswich could not get their hands on the ball and they started to concede penalties, mainly for not releasing in the tackle.

Two more penalties extended the home team's lead, although Hadwen did reply with one of his own.

Finally, Ipswich rallied, moving the ball wide at every opportunity. The ball was retained through five or six phases until Novasad took it on, breaking tackles to touch down in the corner. Now it was all Ipswich and Stortford started to give away penalties.

Hadwen slotted a long-range effort, but too often the ball-carrier failed to use the man on the outside, instead cutting infield to the grateful arms of the cover defence and the chances were lost and they were unable to score again.

Lakenham Hewitt 31 Ipswich YM 41

THREE previous trips to Lakenham had seen YM win 10-9, 3-0 and 8-0, but it was a much more open affair in the Eastern Counties League Division Two North opener on Saturday.

The Suffolk visitors brushed Lakenham aside with first-half tries from winger Ian Girling, No. 8 Derek Cawston, winger Tim Styles, hooker Simon Podd and centre John Mitchell. Scrum-half Phil Watts converted two of those scores while Lakenham notched up just two penalties.

YM may have relaxed and that almost proved to be their undoing as they were outscored by three tries to two in the second half.

The hosts stepped up their game, creating confusion that led to errors and indiscipline.

A try and a penalty brought the score within eight points and there was visible relief among the YM players when flanker Adam Blemings, playing in his last YM match before heading off to Exeter University, touched down after a strong surge following a line-out win.

Another Lakenham try buoyed home hopes, but again the visitors hit back when Mitchell sprinted in from long range to notch up his brace.The home team had the last say with a late try to leave the final score 41-31.

Ipswich YM II 12 – Felixstowe 26

FELIXSTOWE started their Suffolk League campaign with an away fixture at Ipswich YM. The weather was excellent and so was the playing surface leading we hoped to an entertaining game. Both teams started a bit sluggishly which led to an untidy first 5 minutes. The games first real action came after 6 minutes when Felixstowe were awarded a penalty on the YM 22, but the resulting kick hit the post.

The front 3 for Felixstowe Barry Scott, Dave Driver & Dave Alford just had the edge and mad YM work very hard at each scrum causing YM to hurry and often turning the ball over. The game ebbed and flowed with both teams showing strong defence inside their own 22 with both sets of backs looking dangerous.

In the 20th minute Richard Hull went over from 30 yards for Felixstowe to record the first score of the game, Cain Berry added the conversion to Felixstowe a 7 – 0 lead. Felixstowe continued to have the upper hand just and it was no surprise when after the half hour mark Jeff Mann went over in the corner for Felixstowe after a good move starting with forwards and ending with the backs, the conversion was missed half – time 12 – 0.

After the break it was YM who looked the more hungry, and 2 minutes into the half after Felixstowe failed to mark a kick to touch, YM took a quick throw and it ended with their young winger going over under the posts, they added the conversion making the score 12 – 7 to Felixstowe.

It was YM who looked the better team now but a body blow came in the 10 minute when a superb move along the Felixstowe back line ended with Cain Berry going over under the posts he added the conversion 19 –7. YM worked very hard with their inside centre and right winger always looking dangerous but just lacked that killer last ball. The deciding score came in the 28 minute of the second half when Richard Hull ran 35 yards to score an excellent individual try under the posts which Cain Berry converted 26 – 7.

YM got a consolation at the death for their hard work with their outside centre running in from 40 yards but the conversion was missed making the final score Felixstowe 26 Ipswich YM II 12. Both teams can take encouragement from this game and take it forward in to the rest of the season.

Sudbury 26 Thurrock 18

ONCE again, it looks as if it is going to be a cut-throat season for the region's leading teams in a competitive London League Division Two North.

After just three weeks of action, there are only two teams out of the 12 with 100% winning records – and just two yet to win a game.

Sudbury, having suffered two narrow defeats, joined the ranks of the winners with victory over Thurrock.

Sudbury took the lead from their first attack when Chris Withey slotted home. Thurrock fumbled to give Sudbury a scrum on the five-metre line and with a good shove from the pack, skipper Scott Harries picked up and scrambled over.

Withey kicked another penalty, but it was the visitors' turn to score when they took a quick tap-penalty and ran through.

Stefan Williams ran round the defence to fall on the ball for Sudbury's second try.

Sudbury were awarded a five-metre scrum and were able to move forward, enabling Harries to pick up and scamper over for his second try.

Thurrock scored again just before the break when their No. 10 again scrambled over from a five-metre scrum.

The visitors kicked two penalties to get within striking distance at 21-18.

Sudbury scored again when Harries drew the defence before passing inside to Rob Pound and on to Jim Lorking, who notched a clinching try.

Haverhill 5 Stowmarket 16

TWO promoted clubs clashed in the opening match of the Eastern Counties League Division Two North season and Stowmarket made up for the disappointment of the previous week's narrow cup defeat at the hands of Ipswich YM to record a victory at Haverhill.

Stowmarket were without several first-team regulars but took the game to the hosts and were rewarded with a successful penalty from stand-in kicker Tony Crowe.

Haverhill came back strongly and, following a scrum close to the visitors' line, went ahead with an unconverted try which resulted in a painful back injury to veteran stand-off Paul Relf who had an overnight hospital stay as a result.

The visitors started the second half in uncompromising mood and they regained the lead with a try from winger Ed Baker, followed by a penalty from in front of the posts that was kicked by replacement fly-half Gareth Deane.

Stowmarket completed the scoring with a close-range try from skipper Bill Norfolk.

Rochford 21 Hadleigh 10

THIS was a game that got away as far as Hadleigh were concerned.

For long periods they pinned Rochford in their own half, but could not make the pressure count. Rochford had no such problems and were clinical in taking chances to clinch the London League Division Three North East points.

Hadleigh started brightly enough, with Carson slotting a penalty after 15 minutes. Rochford hit back quickly, with Lister kicking two to take the advantage.

This stung Hadleigh back into action, and in the pack Thomson, Dexter and Griffiths won ample ball at all phases, but the backs failed to produce the kind of penetration needed.

With five minutes of the half remaining, Hadleigh suffered a double blow when No. 8 Joseland was forced off through injury and a try was conceded after a break by Rochford centre Catt, which put Creighton in by the posts.

Trailing 11-3, Hadleigh began the second half well and were rewarded when, after good work by the pack, Carson scored.

The conversion cut the deficit to a single point, and for the next 15 minutes Hadleigh worked their way into the Rochford half time and again, only to be thwarted and have Rochford score a converted try.

HADLEIGH centre Pete Hicks scored a club record 51 points as the Phantoms won their Suffolk Merit Table match 86-0 away to Harwich II on Saturday.

He ran in six tries, kicked nine conversions and a penalty to pass his half-century. Indeed, club officials are now wondering if the feat has been bettered in local competitive matches.

Other Hadleigh tries came from Tuitubou (two), Aitken, Crawley, Denning, Murray and Squirrell.

Canvey Island 7 Woodbridge 32

WOODBRIDGE opened strongly in London League Division Four North East and strong pressure forced Canvey Island to concede a series of penalties, three of which were kicked by John Cummings.

The backs were waiting for their chance, and Tim Johnson crashed through the defence for the opening try.

Woodbridge were also on top in the set pieces and another try followed when Ollie Bowles gained possession with a solid tackle, releasing John Yorke, who won the chase to touch down his chip forward.

Another Cummings penalty made it 22-0. Canvey could not prevent further tries from Owens and Harper. Canvey rallied to record the final score with a converted try.