Lowestoft & Yarmouth 31, South Woodham Ferrers 8

Lowestoft and Yarmouth retained their lead at the top of London 3NE with a hard fought and patient performance against their mid-table visitors from Essex.

South Woodham brought a small young team boasting nine players from their current Colts XV, but they belied their inexperience and put up a brave show despite eventually succumbing to L&Y's superior strength and firepower.

Home captain Marc Thomas had a tough day at the office trying to keep up with his athletic young opposite number, but still managed to score two first half tries on the back of some well organised driving play by his front five.

Outside centre Myles McAlone also picked up a second half hat-trick of tries despite missing several passes. Thankfully his pace and timing on to the ball, along with an Oddfellows Arms man of the match performance from his centre partner Josh Fewkes, was too much for the Ferrers defence to handle.

The visitors immediately made the home team well aware of their ability but their tactics of kicking deep were easily dealt with by the back three of Tom Dare, Dave Palmer and Kristan Taylor Crisp. A drive after 15 minutes which involved some great handling and powerful charges by Chris Howe, Russ Wilkinson and Jake Titterington set up position near the Ferrers line and Thomas picked up and was driven over by his pack for Russ Chapman to convert.

Despite a disallowed try for Taylor Crisp after a super break from Scott Nelson, L&Y managed to hold their composure and score another try late in the half from a driven line-out ball taken by Ryan Oakes and smuggled to Thomas for the touchdown.

After the break, Ferrers pulled back a penalty after an offside near the L&Y 22. McAlone almost scored one try after a sweeping break by Thomas, Nelson and Fewkes put him clear into space only to drop the ball. However he quickly made up for it by by slicing perfectly onto a pass from Steve Adams in midfield after some forceful play inside the Ferrers quarter.

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Chapman again converted and then McAlone showed his pace after a long Nelson pass gave him space inside his own half. When he looked up and saw two front rowers in opposition, he pushed down the accelerator and sped to the line. Good chasing forced the touchdown wide so Chapman missed the conversion, and with the bonus point sealed, L&Y rang the changes and introduced Graeme Newton and Brad Sutherland.

A chip into the L&Y 22 seemed to be covered superbly by Wilkinson but he was penalised and from the attacking position the Ferrers' forwards fashioned a try with some determined driving play.

With only a few minutes left McAlone got his third, and L&Y's fifth, try after some neat interplay between Nelson and Steve Powles down the short side of a breakdown gave him room to race between the remaining defenders and over near the posts.

Chapman rounded off another improved performance with his final conversion.