Chelmsford 16, Holt 8

Holt were unable to extend their run of victories to five as they left Chelmsford empty handed, slipping to fifth in London 2NE as a result.

Holt played with the slope but it was the hosts who drew first blood when they were awarded a penalty after six minutes for handling on the ground, which was duly kicked.

Holt showed their early dominance in the pack with a well executed driving maul, which led to Allen charging down a clearance kick, to gather the ball and run over for an unconverted try. This gave Holt a slender 3-5 lead after 13 minutes.

The home side were putting Holt's defensive skills to the test and despite the visitors missing a penalty chance, it was the home side who scored next with a penalty for offside.

Holt again went onto the offensive to try and regain the lead before half-time, but were unable to do so and found themselves one point in arrears despite the slope advantage.

The second half was only two minutes old when the home side were awarded a penalty and duly increased their lead to 9-5. This early setback inspired Holt to take the game up the slope and went close to scoring from another driving maul. However the pressure was rewarded when Harvey kicked a penalty to narrow the deficit to one point at 9-8.

The game entered an interesting phase, with both sides endeavouring to break through, and Holt did have a chance to retake the lead from a penalty, which was off target. On the follow up into Chelmsford's in-goal, a try appeared to have been scored, but it was judged otherwise.

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Holt kept up the pressure and another penalty chance was not taken. With time ticking away it began to look as though the scoreline would remain the same, but Chelmsford went back onto the attack and following a line-out, forged through Holt's defence for a try and with the conversion on target, moved 16-8 in front with four minutes remaining.

Holt threw everything into the attack and the game ended with a chance to regain the bonus point from a penalty, but it was missed. Holt could certainly have achieved more, being more than a match for their hosts, especially in the forwards.

Physio Andy Siddall deserves a mention for displaying his usual skills in attending to the players during a hard encounter.