LONDON 2 NORTH: Lowestoft & Yarmouth 5 Ipswich 43

Any sense of security that this would be a repeat of the reverse fixture earlier in the season (113-0) was rudely shattered inside two minutes.

Ipswich made a complete mess of the home side’s kick-off and before they knew what was happening, they were having a chat behind the posts 5-0 down.

Due to absences, the line from nine to 15 looked as though coach Johnny Breedt had drawn names out of a hat and allocated them positions.

Nobody was playing in their usual place and this showed early on when Tim Hopkins made a typical break down the right wing. However, since he is not used to having someone outside him he chose not to pass to the real winger on the day - Henry Alexander who was right on his shoulder and the chance went begging.

Eventually Ipswich got the hang of things and two tries from Chris Blom and Jermaine Watson rapidly turned things round but here too they encountered difficulties.

Corne Els was on the bench so they elected Hopkins as his deputy.

Hopkins then elected to do what he does best which is to run in tries from his own half and, despite the promising start, the home side found themselves 17-5 down.

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Luck hasn’t been a frequent visitor to Lowestoft and Yarmouth this year a situation embellished when the referee yellow-carded their highly influential skipper for pulling down the ruck.

For a moment it looked as though the floodgates would open and Ipswich scored another two tries from Monty Douglas and Carlton Littlechild. Ipswich led 29-5 at half-time.

After 30 scoreless minutes in the second half, the deadlock was broken when Els came off the bench to score a try and then convert his own effort.

Five minutes later, Ipswich scored again, Els converting.

Not the greatest game of rugby but Ipswich continue to secure victories with bonus points in away fixtures.

Assuming Saffron Walden win their fixture in hand with a bonus point they will only have a one point lead in the table.