Over 500 see President’s XV beat Holt 32-26 in traditional Boxing Day game

Action from the traditional Boxing Day match at Bridge Road Picture: STUART YOUNG

Action from the traditional Boxing Day match at Bridge Road Picture: STUART YOUNG - Credit: Archant

A crowd of over 500 gathered at High Kelling for the traditional Boxing Day fixture between Holt first XV and a team chosen by the club president Paul Williams.

The dry, still weather provided the ideal backdrop for an entertaining game of open rugby, with the select side claiming an exciting 32-26 victory.

The president's side looked lively from the start and were soon 10 points ahead with two tries from their strong running left winger Alex McKenzie. An over-exuberant tip tackle on Holt second row Robbie Gray left referee Grant Stephen with no option but to produce two yellow cards and, while the visitors were reduced to 13 men, Gray responded with a try of his own, converted by Tom Goose, for a 7-10 scoreline. Goose was soon on the scoreboard again with a try which he converted to put the home side in the lead for the first and only time at 14-10.

A strong burst by the invitation team just before half-time showed their quality with two quickly-taken tries by Perowne and Buckman giving them a lead of 14-20 at the turnaround.

Early in the second half, while Holt were encamped near the visitors' line, a long speculative pass was intercepted, resulting in a try for the visitors, converted by Charlie Simmons.

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At this stage it looked as if the president's team might pull away further, with the half-back pairing of the Simmons brothers, Charlie at No 9 and man of the match Josh at 10, dictating the tempo of the game.

But good defensive work by Holt saw them through this difficult period and a solo try by Henry Flower reduced the deficit to 19-27.

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The final quarter of the game was very even and the scoring was completed with a try by Callum McKenzie for the visitors and a second try for Holt's Robbie Gray, which he converted.

The game was a useful run-out for Holt before they resume they London Three Eastern Counties programme on Saturday week with a trip to bottom of the table Ipswich YM.

They currently lead the way by five points from Wymondham, with Ely a further point adrift in third position.

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