Mersea Island 5, Low & Yar 53

A second eight-try win in a fortnight kept Lowestoft and Yarmouth at the top of London 3NE, with Basildon hot on their heels after their destruction of Wymondham.

Despite the scoreline, a big physical Mersea Island side belied their bottom of the table status and gave the visitors a tough match.

L&Y soon went ahead with a penalty by Russ Chapman, followed by an unconverted try by giant prop Jake Titterington, which came from a quickly tapped penalty and good hands by Chris Howe and Dave Palmer.

Mersea showed their spirit from the restart when No 8 Brendan Cook rounded the defence for a fine try.

L&Y were still dominating possession and although they met stout defence, their pace out wide was the key. From a lineout in the home 22, Scott Nelson threw a long pass to Myles McAlone and he was able to squirm out of a tackle and round under the posts for an easy Chapman conversion. Brad Sutherland and Palmer combined to make some yards down the right, and some quick recycling by Howe and captain Marc Thomas gave Chapman and Nelson the chance to send McAlone over for an identikit second score within five minutes.


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With the strong wind at their backs, L&Y were keen to get another score before the break and this time it was scrum-half Chapman adding to his tally. A mesmerising 70m break involving Howe, Nelson, Ryan Oakes twice, Palmer and Thomas was stopped short of the line and from the scrum Titterington forced such pressure through the tighthead side that Chapman was able to steal the ball and flop over the line.

The third quarter was a different game altogether as Mersea fly-half Spencer Priestley found his kicking boots and intelligently played them into position, where they laid siege to the L&Y line. Stout defence and great spirit kept them out and then the tide turned. Sutherland took a quick tap, made ground and Nelson and Howe were able to give Thomas enough space to fake a pass to Palmer and run over the line.

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The captain got the ball rolling for the sixth try with a superb turnover, some swift handling enabling Titterington to charge through midfield before further hands found lock Callum Cashman on the wing with 40m to go and Palmer on his outside. The burly youngster opted to crash through himself and eventually made it to the posts.

He did soon make up to Palmer for the seventh score, providing the scoring pass after position was set up by a break involving himself, Titterington and centre Steve Adams. Replacement Donald McArthur was twice involved in the final score, setting up the position for Titterington to trundle over for his second try from a Nelson pass.

Director of rugby Scott Nelson took a nasty blow to the ribs late in the game but was pleased with the performance, especially with the newer players and the replacements.

Man of the match was Russ Chapman with his 18-point haul and sharp delivery at scrum half.

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