London 3NE: Wanstead 22, Holt 9

London 3NE champions Holt lost for only the second time this season after seeing a tight game slip away from them in the second half.

Holt started brightly, with Iain Young making good use of the wind and ensuring his side were able to play much of the first half from an attacking position. The pressure paid off after seven minutes with a Tim Allen penalty.

Minutes later Allen looked to have set speedster Matt Jary Ryan away after a line-breaking run but the ball was spilt forwards.

It took until the last minute of the half until Holt scored next, again with a well taken Allen penalty. By this time however they had squandered some good attacking opportunities and a 6-0 lead with the wind at their backs was not a large enough points total.

Allen added to his own personal haul with a further three points but it was Wanstead who started to dominate proceedings and they had soon reduced the arrears with a penalty of their own.

Some quick thinking from Wanstead forwards then saw them claim their first try, with a tap and go penalty catching the Holt forwards off guard, but the conversion was from out wide and was missed, leaving the score at 8-9.

Wanstead continued to pressurise and eventually the balance tipped in favour of the home side, who added a penalty and well taken try within a minute of each other, moving the score on to 16-9. It was just reward for their hard working forwards and their dogged defence out in the wider channels.

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Holt were looking for a breakaway opportunity and with three minutes left looked to have been gifted it. A trademark Graham Ilsley interception was on the cards out wide but just as the Holt winger looked to have gathered a Wanstead tackler managed to strip him of the ball.

It was to be Holt's last chance as Wanstead continued to dominate, adding two more penalties before the end and finishing the game deserved winners.

Holt will need to up their performance on Saturday at home as promotion-hunting rivals Stowmarket visit High Kelling, where the Owls remain unbeaten in the league for 18 months.