Chelmsford 19, Beccles 17
Beccles travelled to Chelmsford knowing that it was going to be a tough battle – yet the result could have gone either way and was still open right until the final whistle.
With Beccles playing up hill and into a strong wind they knew that the first 40 minutes would be difficult.
The strong Chelmsford side started well and were soon on the scoresheet. After a number of phases of play a good interchange between scrum-half and back row saw them dive under the posts for the first try.
Beccles soon began to match Chelmsford's abrasive forward play, making them work hard for any reward. As the visiting pack began to dominate the set pieces, led by Ling, Lake and Porter, the ball was moved wide along the line. The Chelmsford backs put up some strong resistance and from a spilt ball the home winger collected and sprinted clear to score under the posts. The conversion saw Beccles trailing by 14 points after 15 minutes.
From this point forward Beccles never seemed to look back and despite playing up the hill and into the wind the forwards began to pound the home line. From a good take in the line-out by Paul Wilson the Beccles pack drove at the line. Sale marshalled his forwards well and orchestrated wave after wave of attacks. After a number of attempts the ball was moved the ball wide where Murray switched with Payne, who evaded two would-be tacklers to get Beccles on the scoresheet. With the conversion narrowly missed Beccles turned around 14-5 down.
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With the slope in their favour and the wind behind them Beccles began to press the Chelmsford line. The Beccles back row of Rob Wilson, Bakzsa and match of the matcgh Maeer continued to work tirelessly, pushing the big Chelmsford forwards back and frustrating their opposition.
Rayner was making some electric runs from full back, linking well with Willamson and Gedney, and one such surge took play deep into the Chelmsford half, forcing a line-out. From this, Beccles drove the ball towards the Chelmsford line and Payne was driven over by his supporting forwards. With the conversion missed Beccles trailed by 14-10.
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Chelmsford got the crucial next score as a well organised drive gave them some breathing space but Beccles had soon reduced the deficit with a penalty try, converted by Murray, after the hosts had been guilty of numerous infringements when attempting to stop a push for the line. With 10 minutes to play Beccles continue to press – but it was to no avail.