Holt show steel to keep record intact

Stowmarket 16, Holt 18: Holt's unbeaten London 3NE band-wagon rumbled on as they extended their perfect start to the season to 11 straight wins at Stowmarket.

A dry day and a firm pitch encouraged both sides to play rugby with the ball in hand. Stowmarket moved the ball wide while Holt looked to use their forwards to maul with the ball.

By half-time neither side had managed to cross the try line. Two penalties a piece, in a combative first half, saw the scores locked at 6-6.

Holt started the second half with a slight wind at their backs and immediately put it to good use. Iain Young kicked for position and from a lineout in their opponents' 22m area the Holt forwards drove a powerful maul over the try line for Sammy Wright to touch down. Young was successful with the conversion to ease Holt ahead.

Stowmarket hit back by scoring a try wide out but failed to convert leaving Holt with a two-point advantage.

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Holt stuck to their gameplan and kept play tight, starving the opposition of possession and slowly making their way towards their opponents try line.

Eventually, from a scrum 30 metres out, Graham Ilsley produced a fine individual try, chipping ahead and gathering the ball to score wide of the posts. The conversion was missed but Holt led by seven points.

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The last 10 minutes were played out at a ferocious pace with Stowmarket doing everything in their power to win possession and attack Holt's defence.

Holt held out until the fifth minute of injury time, when, after three penalties, Stowmarket crossed for a second time out wide for a well taken try.

A difficult chance to level the game at the death was too big an ask for the Stowmarket fly-half and Holt recorded their first victory over Stowmarket away from home in four seasons to remain undefeated and seven points clear at the top of the table.

• Wanstead 37, Wymondham 7

Wymondham again returned empty-handed from a trip to London and must now ensure their mid-season 'blip' does not turn into a full slump.

Wanstead established the pattern with a try after four minutes and led 22-0 at the break with two more tries – both converted – and a penalty, the later with captain Sokia, was in the sin bin for a high tackle.

The second half brought no relief for Wymondham who lost centre, Barry O'Sullivan, for 10 minutes for a mistimed tackle – Wanstead also profitting by adding the three points. Young prop Josh Stuart replaced Brown and produced a spirited cameo performance. And after Wanstead had added another unconverted try Wymondham coach Justin Loveridge introduced himself at scrum-half and made an immediate impact – his chip ahead being fielded by Hodgson for a consolation converted try.

The comeback was short-lived, however as Wanstead's forwards worked another converted try.

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