Humberstone double provides some consolation for Holt

Bruce van Poortvliet was Holt's man-of-the-match. Picture: STUART YOUNG

Bruce van Poortvliet was Holt's man-of-the-match. Picture: STUART YOUNG - Credit: Archant

An under-strength Holt side slipped to a heavy defeat in their penultimate league fixture of the season.

After leaking 30 points in the first half Holt started the second strongly to reduce the deficit to 30-19.

But at this crucial stage Woodford reacted strongly and soon pulled away to earn a comfortable victory.

Injuries and unavailability reduced the travelling contingent to 17 players and matters were made worse when Gareth May was sidelined due to an injury while warming up.

As has been the case many times this season Holt were up against a bigger pack and speedier three-quarter line and Woodford immediately took the lead with a penalty from Tom Redfern and stretched their lead after winning a scrum against the head, with John Cruddace touching down and Redfern converting.

This was quickly followed by tries for full-back Will Dignon and winger Anthony Deery, neither of which were converted.

Holt responded when scrum-half Bruce van Poortvliet put away winger Michael Humberstone for an unconverted try to make the score 20-5 but the hosts managed to squeeze in two more unconverted tries before half-time to extend their lead.

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The game was all Holt for the first 10 minutes of the second half, with tries by Woodfordes man-of-the-match van Poortvielt and captain James Riley, both of which were converted by Ben Harvey.

It looked like game on but the home side dominated from then on, running in six converted tries. Holt fought bravely to the end and were rewarded by a consolation try for Humberstone which was converted by Harvey.

It looks as though Holt will be demoted to the proposed new Eastern Counties League comprising clubs from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire but not Essex, which will have a league of its own. This new arrangement could prove to be timely for Holt and enable them to regroup and strengthen their squad for future seasons.

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