London 3NE: Harlow 17, Holt 21
Holt recorded a thoroughly deserved win over their nearest challengers to increase their lead at the top of London 3NE to 16 points.
Holt knew they would have to perform far better than the previous week against Campion. Holt had won the first encounter 33-3 and were looking to complete another double.
Harlow started on the attack up the slight slope and it took all of Holt's defensive skills to keep them out.
However the storm was weathered and Holt made progress into their opponents' half and their endeavours were eventually rewarded when Woods scored following a push over scrum. With Allen adding the points, a 7-0 lead had been established after 29 minutes. This spurred the visitors on and they were further rewarded when, following a driving maul over Harlow's goal line, Daniels seized on the opportunity to score. Allen again landed an excellent conversion.
From the re-start, the home side got into Holt's half and were awarded a penalty a minute later, which was kicked to make it 3-14 at the break.
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From the start of the second half Holt had the advantage of an extra man as a Harlow player was sin binned. The visitors immediately applied pressure but could not increase their lead while Harlow were also making a full contribution to the entertainment.
Holt suffered a player being sin binned but were let off when the resulting kick was off target. Holt then swept back up the field and drove a maul over Harlow's goal line, but were held up. The pressure was still maintained and following a scrum where Holt drove their opponents back 10 metres, Woods scored his second try of the match. Allen, again, was on target with the conversion to increase the lead to 3-21 after 19 minutes of the half.
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With time ticking away it looked as though Holt would emerge comfortable winners but Harlow had other ideas and for the last seven minutes they attacked with a determination that rewarded them with two converted tries, the second earning them a losing bonus point.
Great relief was felt when the final whistle went after this score, but Holt had deserved their victory.
With five games to play and none of them easy – especially as three are away – Holt must maintain the commitment shown in this game to achieve their ultimate goal.
Next week Holt are on their travels again, this time to South Woodham Ferrers.
Holt III must be congratulated on another excellent win in their Woodforde's Merit Table Two. They beat Broadland II 62-14.