Hampstead too hot as L&Y miss out again

Hampstead 34, Lowestoft & Yarmouth 9: L&Y failed to pick up any points for the second week running against a Hampstead team who proved much better suited to the hot conditions.

The young home team played a high tempo game which stretched L&Y throughout, but it wasn't until the final 20 minutes when their superior fitness and eagerness to run from everywhere paid dividends and extended the scoreline to flattering proportions.

With seven regulars unable to make the trip, L&Y knew they were going to have to dig deep against their unbeaten hosts. With an hour gone there was only on point between the teams – and it will be interesting to see how things turn out in the return at a potentially cold and wet Gunton Park in January.

Hampstead made their intention to play the match at a time tempo obvious from the start. A centre break after quick recycling led after five minutes which Tom Cracknell knocked over. Dave Tiueti replied in kind soon afterwards.

With the Hampstead fly-half attacking at every opportunity, a deft unload in midfield broke the L&Y line and quick hands opened a hole for their flanker to race under the posts for the first converted score.

L&Y then took the initiative and forced their way up to the Hampstead 22, where a dangerous attack was killed by a deliberate knock on and Tiueti narrowed the score to four points.

The remainder of the half was played out in midfield, with Chris Howe, Marc Thomas and stand-in lock John Mills all prominent in attack – one skilful chip and chase by Russ Chapman almost made a break.

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After the break L&Y started well with a series of plays involving Tiueti, Chapman and Russ Wilkinson that took play under the Hampstead posts, where Tiueti kicked his third kick penalty.

Hampstead came back strongly into the sun and a break was just held out by scrambling defence from Josh Fewkes and Brad Sutherland, before the L&Y pack had to endure a period of pressure on their own line which was eventually relieved by a Scott Nelson clearance.

The luck began to break for the home team. A kick to the open saw Matt Jary track back to collect the bounce but he was immediately held up and stripped of the ball for their winger to sprint clear and race to the posts for a converted try.

Cracknell added another penalty, then, a few minutes later, L&Y lost a lineout and quick ball allowed the Hampstead flyhalf room to skip past the L&Y defence and set his backs racing through and away for another score converted again by Cracknell.

With the game lost L&Y summoned a final big push for a try. But ther frantic efforrs end when Chapman threw his second late interception pass in as many weeks and the Hampstead centre ran the length of the pitch to claim a bonus point win.

nBeccles' poor start to the season continued with a 26-8 defeat at home to Ipswich.