Braintree 50, Holt 3

Holt suffered their heaviest defeat for a number of seasons on Saturday at the hands of a Braintree side who fully deserved their success.

The setback saw the visitors drop back to fifth in London 2NE, with a points difference of minus 43, and it will take some positive play in future games to wipe this performance from the memory.

Holt travelled to Essex for this rearranged fixture hoping to carry on the way they had played when beating Ipswich three weeks ago.

They had won a close game at home against Braintree in October but the return was always going to be interesting, going on their opponents' good home record.

Holt played into the wind from the start on a heavy pitch and showed a good positive approach, making inroads into Braintree's half. The pressure paid off after five minutes when Young kicked a penalty to put his side ahead. Sadly this was the end of Holt's early domination as the home started to use the wind to good effect and started to test the visitors' defence. This paid off after 12 minutes when the home side scored a slightly dubious looking try following what looked like a knock-on and with conversion on target they took the lead 7-3.

Braintree were looking dangerous whenever they had possession and were keeping Holt pinned in their own half and increased their lead with a penalty after 19 minutes.

Then another converted try was conceded following a driving maul to increase the deficit to 17-3, making the catch up more difficult.

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Holt had also tried to put Braintree's defence under pressure, but with no luck and as the break approached, the home side launched another onslaught on Holt's line and were rewarded with another converted try, making the score an unhealthy 24-3 against Holt. The visitors did get into Braintree's half just short of the whistle for half-time but the chance was wasted and at the break Holt knew they had a lot of work hard to catch up and wipe out Braintree's lead, with, hopefully the help of the wind and by using it sensibly.

Braintree started the half again on the attack hungry for further scores but Holt kept them out and did their best to get into Braintree's half, but events were not going their way.

The home side were going at full blast and added another converted try after 15 minutes taking the lead to 31-3 and giving the visitors a mammoth task in playing catch-up, which on the run of play was becoming increasingly difficult.

The home side were not going to surrender their domination one iota and carried on their demolition of Holt with another converted try after 24 minutes, making the score 38-3.

Holt did everything within their powers to get close to the home side's goal line and at this stage of the game were against 14 men. They did appear to cross the goal line, but unfortunately for them the referee was unsighted and instead, penalised Holt for dissent, reducing them also to 14.

This signalled the end of Holt's onslaught and the home side, just to rub salt into the visitors' wounds, scored two more tries in the last five minutes and with one being converted,the the final score was a forgettable 50-3.

Holt will be aiming to bounce back on Saturday when they welcome Lowestoft and Yarmouth, who were without a game at the weekend, to High Kelling.