Holt celebrating an amazing turnaround after thrilling 26-20 win against South Woodham Ferrers

Action fro Holt v South Woodham Ferrers - Matt Rhodes, who made an impressive debut for Holt at hook

Action fro Holt v South Woodham Ferrers - Matt Rhodes, who made an impressive debut for Holt at hooker, takes the game to the opposition. Picture Stuart Young. - Credit: Archant

Holt scored two late tries to turn what looked like being a home defeat into a thrilling victory.

Despite the recent storms, the pitch was in excellent condition, lending itself to a fast open game, although the strong cross wind posed problems for both teams.

Holt made the early running, but lost possession, enabling their opponents to attack down the wing and following a line-out close to the goal line, they won the ball and drove over for an unconverted try.

This early success showed SWF to be a good side, who moved the ball well, backed up by a useful mobile set of forwards, making Holt realise they would have a hard game on their hands.

A good opportunity for Holt was thrown away, but the hosts kept up the pressure and after 24 minutes, Matt Jarry-Ryan found a gap in the defence to score under the posts. Simmons made no mistake in adding the points, putting his side 7-5 ahead.

Whilst Holt were trying gain ascendancy they were giving away too many penalties and SWF were quick to seize the initiative re-took the lead after 32 minutes following a well executed driving maul. With half-time approaching Holt had a player yellow carded and from a quickly taken penalty, the vistitors scored another try to increase Holt's deficit to 7-15.

The second half started with Holt still a man short, but SWF brought the numbers equal when they had a player red carded for throwing a punch after five minutes. This meant Holt would have a one player overlap for the rest of the game, but this was not to be for the next 10 minutes as the hosts had another of their players yellow carded.

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Holt again were having to defend well as SWF were looking to increase their lead but theyt cleared their lines and following some positive play, Jarry-Ryan scored his second try after 23 minutes of the half and although the conversion missed, the deficit had been reduced to 12-15.

SWF again went on the offensive and helped by some poor tackling, scored another unconverted try three minutes later, giving them a bonus point. As time ticked by, it began to look as though Holt were going to come out second bestin an absorbing game, with the visitors having the edge. But the gods were on Holt's side, as the final minutes of the game saw a complete turn round.

Firstly Jarry-Ryan scored yet another good try and with Simmons converting, the scoreline read 19-20 with three minutes left. Holt threw everything into attack and helped by a free-kick won at a scrum, surged forward and following some excellent passing, Ilsley finished off the move by scoring under the posts. Simmons added the points giving Holt a 26-20 lead.

There being no time left to re-start, Holt had won an exhilarating contest, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat against a side who had more than contributed to the afternoon's entertainment. Holt also earned themselves a bonus point with the last try and finished with five points overall. This close won victory gave them their eighth win in the league, making them fairly safe in mid-table. Three of their remaining five games are against sides above them in the table who are looking for promotion, although two are at home.

With both the seconds and thirds winning their merit table matches against Lowestoft & Yarmouth 34-27 and Broadland 12-5 respectively, it rounded off a good afternoon for the club. Holt's first team have a well earned rest next week, before the next league match, away to Rochford Hundred, who have climbed to second in the table. Holt won the first meeting at home narrowly by 17-14.

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