Beccles pull off their great escape act
BECCLES 33, SAFFRON WALDEN 16: Beccles have almost certainly pulled off a miraculous escape from relegation after beating Saffron Walden at Beef Meadow in their final game of the season.
The Bulls had to win with a bonus point to stand any chance of staying up. And they did just that, winning by 33-16.
After an anxious wait the news filtered through that Sudbury had lost to Ipswich, moving Beccles one place outside the relegation places.
If nothing else changes this will keep Beccles playing rugby in London Two North-East, a superb achievement after the team had been bottom at Christmas.
Beccles had a strong squad to choose from. Pitts came in to the front row while Baksza returned from Hungary to play in the back row with Rix moving up to second row. In the backs Williamson replaced the injured Rayner at full-back.
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Both teams started the game well but Beccles were first to take the upper hand. Their lineout was working well with Paul Wilson and Maeer taking good ball. One line out was driven towards the opposition line. Rob Wilson got his hands on the ball and powered his way over for the opening score. Wade added the conversion.
Saffron Walden hit back with a penalty almost immediately and added another soon after. They continued to pile the pressure on Beccles and went in front after missed tackles lead to a converted try.
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The front row was scrummaging well, led by props Porter and Pitts. When Pitts suffered a neck injury Rob Wilson stepped up to the front row to carry on the good work. This brought Hinsley off the bench for his last appearance for the club before retiring from first team rugby.
Beccles came back into the game as half-time approached. Some good running from full-back by Williamson put Beccles deep in the opposition half. There they won a penalty in front of the posts which Sale took quickly. The ball was recycled and Rob Wilson crashed over for his second try of the game. The conversion was added and the half-time score was 14-13.
After Saffron Walden went in to the lead with a penalty Beccles began to dominate the game.
They put together the best move of the game for the next try. Lake collected a loose ball in the middle of the park and made good ground. Rix and Baksza supported him well and the ball was fed wide. Davey-Durak received the ball on the wing and showed good strength to power his way over in the corner. Wade was unlucky when he hit the post with the conversion attempt.
Murray and Payne were controlling the game well and keeping the opposition pinned back in their own half. As Saffron Walden pushed to get back in to the game spaces began to open up. A loose ball was snaffled by Beccles and fed wide to Veasey-Lark. He chipped over the top. Sale won the race for the ball and outpaced the defence to score under the posts to give Beccles the bonus point they desperately needed. Wade added the conversion.
Beccles were not finished and it was Veasey-Lark's turn to get on the score sheet. He held his man up on the half way line and ripped the ball from him. He then showed good pace to beat the covering full-back and score under the posts. Wade added the conversion to seal the win by 33-16.
Skipper Lake, who has led the team by example all season, was made man of the match after another inspirational performance.