London 3NE: Holt 31, Sudbury 21
Holt stretched their lead at the top of London 3NE to 13 points as they withstood a late surge from Sudbury to record their 14th win in 15 matches this season.
In ideal conditions Holt, as usual, started in style, putting their visitors under pressure from the start and after five minutes they were rewarded with a try, scored by veteran prop Daniels following a driving maul. The conversion was off target.
The pressure was maintained and four minutes later Jarry-Ryan finished off a good passing move to score under the posts, making the conversion a formality for Young, increasing the lead to 12-0.
Holt were relentless in their play and after 13 minutes, Hill added his name to the try scorers by touching down following another drive. Young was on target with the conversion to give his side a comfortable 19-0 lead. The domination continued and the third member of Holt's front row, Van Poortvliet, then scored an unconverted try following yet another drive over the Sudbury line to increase the margin to 24-0 with a bonus point as well.
Sudbury then got themselves into the game before the break through their lively scrum-half, who broke upfield and scored a converted try.
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The second half did not start well for the home side as the kick-off did not reach 10 metres and Sudbury had the put in at the ensuing scrum, from which they tested Holt's defence.
Although the home side were not under too much pressure, they could not exert the dominance they had shown in the first half.
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However after 28 minutes of the half Graham Ilsley made one of his classic interceptions in his own half and raced through to score under the posts and with Young adding the points the lead had increased to 31-7.
The game looked over but Sudbury kept battling and their live-wire scrum-half scored another good try, which was converted, with five minutes remaining.
Two minutes later, following another break, their left wing scored a converted try to bring the score to 31-21. Holt were obviously worried by this late surge and tightened their belts for the remaining minutes and finished winners by a reasonably comfortable margin.
With Sudbury's excellent contribution to the second half, it had shown Holt that the game is not won by half-time. Nevertheless with this bonus point win and another double achieved – and with second placed Harlow losing to Norwich – the lead at the top of the table stands at a healthy 13 points.
Next Saturday is the crunch match for Holt as they visit second placed Harlow, who were beaten at Norwich on Saturday.
Holt III must be congratulated on a magnificent 82-3 win over Thetford II in their Woodforde's Norfolk Merit Table 2 match.