London 3NE: Beccles 10 Wymondham 7
- Credit: Kailee Strang
These two sides are the nearest to each other in location and also, unfortunately, in league position so this was a must win for both sides to send them into the Christmas break with a confidence booster.
Beccles, looking to avenge a defeat at Wymondham earlier in the season, kicked off and tried to assert early pressure, but the very effective boot of Tom Wilson pegged them back and good defence from James Swinburn, Tom Midgely, Andy Mackay and Harry Kidd stopped most attacks in their tracks.
The game settled into a very close contest between two fairly evenly-matched sides Alex Wigney, Ashley Harrop and Steven Wilson trying to attack Beccles out wide and Beccles trying to force it through their forwards.
With Josh Mickelburgh back as hooker to join Chris Miller and Dane Canning in the front row Wymondham had a better scrum base to work off than in recent weeks and as the game went on this showed.
The first half remained like this with both sides' handling leaving a lot to be desired as they tried to attack each other. Charges by Matt Brighton, Josh Wright and Andy Duckham, ably supported by Auden Airdrie, were negated when later in the move wayward handling skills turned over ball as the Beccles line seemed to be in danger. This was the case for Beccles as well and that ensured there was no scoring until just before half-time when the hosts crashed over in the corner for a converted try and went in 7-0 up, even though this was still anybody's game.
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Wymondham had started to use the driving maul to great effect in the first half and were determined to continue this good work in the second.
They kicked off and immediately tried to set about playing the game mostly in the Beccles half.
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The driving maul was getting more success with Wright, Canning, Miller and the rest of the pack showing good control and being well marshalled by Airdrie.
The game was still played as it had been in the first half, with both sides committing errors and no kicked penalties as Wymondham went for touch to try and set up the maul to put pressure on the home line – eventually, from one of these line-outs, Wright broke through to score the converted try which Wymondham's forwards had been threatening.
The game looked likely to end as a draw – which probably would have been a fair result – but in the last two minutes Wymondham gave away a silly penalty after being well warned by the referee and Beccles converted to give them a 10-7 lead.
Straight from the kick-off Wymondham launched themselves into the Beccles half, but time was against them and the game ended 10-7 to Beccles.