Agonising near miss

Beccles 16, Chelmsford 18: Beccles were denied their first win of the season in heartbreaking fashion when high-flying Chelmsford converted a late penalty to secure the win.

This was the Bulls' first 80 minute performance of the season, full of commitment, hunger and desire. A balanced pack was dominant in a well contested forwards battle and stepped up to a new level that must now be maintained. The backs defended superbly, and showed glimpses of attacking threat, but now need to find more edge and finishing prowess if are they are to deliver.

It was the visitors who started the better and they crossed for the first points, a converted try, quickly followed by a well taken penalty.

Following some calming words from skipper Lake, the Bulls turned the heat up and eventually both territory and possession were rewarded with a superbly taken team try, scored by the in-form Vasey-Lark. This was converted by the multi-talented Larrauri.

From the kick-off Payne calmly pushed the visitors back into their own territory. From the resulting lineout the ever-present Maeer beat his man to the breakdown and won a kickable penalty for the Bulls, again converted by Larrauri.

The second half started well, with some great ball carrying charges from Ling and Johnstone. With Lake, David Rix and Hinsley now dominating their opposite numbers, the backline had the luxury of going wide early. Again the pressure told with two penalties, Larrauri slotting a first from in front of the posts while substitute Wade converted the second from 48 metres on the angle.

With nine minutes to go the much fancied visitors were rattled. But to their credit they smartly regrouped and from a poor Bulls' restart quickly regained territory and cleverly scored from a well worked lineout. Good pressure on the kicker resulted in a missed conversion.

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Despite roars of disapproval from the crowd the visitors were then awarded a long range penalty, which their fly-half calmly converted.