Lowestoft & Yarmouth 24, Ipswich 31
L&Y recovered from a disastrous first half performance to come close to snatching victory after gifting a very competent and competitive Ipswich team a 31-3 interval lead.
It was a game of two distinctly different halves. The ball certainly didn't bounce in the home team's favour for the first 40 minutes, but you make your own luck – and Ipswich recovered from their three week layoff far better than the hosts.
Their finishing was absolutely clinical in the first period and they managed to hold on at the end through their own determined defence as well as the infringement they were contintually allowed to commit without penalty.
L&Y started brightly with young Tom Port combining superbly with Daniel Boardley down the wing for a 50 metre break from which a scrum was forced. When the Ipswich No 8 was caught by Josh Fewkes, Russ Chapman converted the penalty.
Ipswich hit back with a simple try for their pacy right wing after the defence stood off him and allowed him under the posts for an easy conversion.
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Five minutes later Ipswich upped the pace and won a couple of successive penalties. Their No 9 took advantage of L&Y's confusion and span the ball to the hooker, who bundled over on the left for another converted try.
As the rain fell L&Y had the advantage in the set pieces, and looked comfortable, but Ipswich were harrying the ball carriers whenever possible.
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Chapman had the chance of another penalty in front of the posts but, as his team nonchalantly walked back, he hit the post. Ipswich claimed the ball, hacked past the defence into the L&Y half and the flyhalf touched down before adding the third goal.
Understandably the hosts were frustrated and confused and Ipswich rubbed more salt in the wound when a mix up between captain Marc Thomas and Fewkes at the base of a solid scrum saw the greasy ball slip into visitors hands and two sublime offloads left gave their winger the space to run in from halfway.
Four goals from four mistakes and the signs were that Ipswich were going to rack up a cricket score, especially when they added a penalty just before the break.
But harsh words at half-time saw a reshuffle in the L&Y ranks as Brad Sutherland came on at full-back, Richard Bristo to tighthead, Fewkes went to flank, Cashman to lock and Chapman to his usual scrumhalf slot.
This seemed to do the trick because Ipswich barely encroached into the home half for the next 40 minutes as L&Y began to play the way they have showed all season with fewer mistakes and plenty of charges off Scott Nelson's No 10 channel.
Several phases and quick ball got them in striking distance with the first play of the half, and Nelson was able to dummy Bristo and dot down by the posts for Chapman to convert.
From a 40m forward drive, well controlled by Thomas, Howe and Callum Cashman, took the ball to the line despite repeated attempts to collapse it. Finally a penalty was awarded on the line and Sutherland sprang up to tap the ball and dive over for a deserved score.
The Ipswich prop's departure to the sideline for backchat meant uncontested scrums, negating L&Y's main area of superiority. But even so Sutherland forced his way over in the left corner for a clear try only to be disallowed for a perceived knock-on which bemused both teams.
The heavens opened, ruining the next 15 minutes, during which time the prop returned. But his partner had to be stretchered from the field, leaving the rest of the scrums still uncontested.
L&Y continued to pile on the pressure and eventually closed the gap to deserved bonus point territory when Myles McAlone found space to touch down after more good forward work. Chapman again converted, but Ipswich kept the brave but unlucky home team at distance.
L&Y stay fourth in the league on the same points as Ipswich but a marginally better points difference.