Late converted try secures dramatic win for Holt

holt rugger

holt rugger - Credit: Archant

Rochford Hundred 21 Holt 22

Holt made the long trip to Rochford Hundred and came away with a hard-fought win, thanks to a converted try in injury-time.

Within seven minutes, and following a string of penalties, Rochford were camped on Holt's five-metre line and with a strong pack scored their first try with a big push from the scrum. Despite the relatively easy kick the try remained unconverted.

Playing against the wind Holt kept the ball in hand at every opportunity and made good ground through strong running centres Hal Riley and Graham Ilsley.

With 27 minutes gone Soul Phoenix rose highest to take a lineout against the head just five metres from the line. The Holt forwards recycled well to eventually provide the opportunity for Rob Gray to crash through to record his side's first points of the match. Again the conversion was missed and the half-time came with the score still 5-5.

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Rochford scored again seven minutes into the second half with another try from a five-metre scrum, this time their No.8 picking up and driving for the line and finishing well for a try which was converted.

Holt introduced debutant flanker Ed Riley and winger Tom Starnes off the bench while Tim Allen replaced hooker Jake Powell, who again performed well in the tight.

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Graham Ilsley narrowed the gap with a well struck penalty from 35 metres out but with a little over 10 minutes left to play the home side recorded their third try of the afternoon. Rochford's second row burst through Holt's blindside defence and sprint in from 40 metres out to score, despite the efforts of full-back Geoff Flather.

Holt responded just three minutes later when flying winger Matt Jary-Ryan fielded a botched clearance kick and weaved his way through to score from 50 metres out. Ilsley converted and the game was tied at 15-15.

With both teams now pushing for the win the last eight minutes was a nail-biting spectacle. Rochford's forward pressure told eventually and two penalties in quick succession, ably dispatched by their kicker, looked to have won the day with only one minute and injury-time remaining.

In the second minute of injury-time and after patient possession by the Holt pack captain Bruce van Poortvliet released man-of-the-match Jary-Ryan down a short blindside. With 30 metres to go to make the line he somehow eluded four defenders to dot the ball down close to the touchline, leaving Ilsley a chance to convert for the win.

With time slipping away he held his nerve and kicked superbly from wide out to seal victory by a single point.

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