Lowestoft & Yarmouth 10, Holt 20
Lowestoft and Yarmouth lost at Gunton Park for the first time this season to a deserving Holt team full of endeavour.
But the home side were furious with themselves for a below par performance which gifted the points to their Norfolk rivals.
After three bonus point wins to start the season, L&Y have now had puzzling change of fortunes in the past three matches, precipitated by the fall-out of the abandoned game at Stevenage and followed by two further losses against fellow Norfolk teams.
In this match, the visitors started sharply before being on the back foot for 30 minutes due to some superb continuity play by L&Y. However rather than press on in the second half, L&Y faded and Holt scored a pair of tries to take the spoils.
Holt started with the wind and immediately set up camp in the home 22.
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A strangely lethargic L&Y defence did manage to hold them out but when Russ Chapman conceded a midfield scrum by kicking a drop-out into touch Jackson was fed by Girling, sold an excellent dummy to wrong foot the defence and raced through to score an unconverted try.
L&Y responded by finally retaining some possession and setting up a thrilling attack with a multi-phase sequence moving first down the right and then down the left for Matt Howell to eventually put Tyler Beales racing over in the corner to even the score.
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With L&Y ruling the breakdown at this point, Holt struggled to cope with the home attacks. Around the half hour, Dave Tiueti tapped and ran a midfield penalty to release Myles McAlone on a strong charge down the right wing before swift recycling allowed Chapman, Tom Dare and Scott Nelson to give Howell space to score his own try on the left.
Holt were under the cosh and Howell spilled what would have been a certain score before the heavens opened with horizontal sleet to even off the play and see out the half with the hosts leading 10-5.
With the wind at their backs, L&Y needed to take the second half by the scruff of the neck, but a combination of factors including some poor kicks, some sloppy handling, stout defence by Holt and a forceful set of driving mauls by the visitors, all served to dent the home team's confidence.
From the restart, L&Y conceded a penalty which Jackson converted to close the gap to two points.
Midway through the half, a period of L&Y attack came to a close with a Holt clearance to space. The L&Y back three failed to deal with the bouncing ball and the resulting kick-chase forced a penalty inside the L&Y 22. It was quickly taken and Jackson again added his name to the score sheet with the conversion taking Holt further ahead.
Then a superb set of line-outs down Holt's left flank were each driven and three times L&Y conceded a penalty and further ground until eventually Holt drove over for their final try.
Gray made the touch down for a score which went uncoverted, increasing the lead to a safer 10 points with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Try as L&Y might they could not seem to take control again as Holt's pressure defence and a rising sense of panic in their own play meant a number of chances were either dropped or ended with a poor decision. Three times they had kickable penalty chances to rescue at least a losing bonus point but spurned them in the quest for a try.
Holt gamely held out for the win, and L&Y were left looking for answers on how to get back on track with what is undoubtedly a very talented side going through an inexplicable blip in confidence.
The win kept Holt in the top half of the table with four wins out of six, a very encouraging start at this level following a second successive promotion last season.
Saturday's visitors to High Kelling are Enfield Ignatians while Lowestoft and Yarmouth travel to Woodford and North Walsham visit Stowmarket.