South Woodham Ferrers 36 Holt 40 – Late burst of tries is survived

Action from Holt's win at South Woodham Ferrers, flying Holt winger James Riley on his way to a try.

Action from Holt's win at South Woodham Ferrers, flying Holt winger James Riley on his way to a try. Picture: Stuart Young - Credit: Stuart Young

Holt made the lengthy trip to Essex looking for a win against South Woodham Ferrers, a side who are traditionally strong at home in London 2NE.

The sunny conditions favoured running rugby and both teams committed to moving the ball through the hands at every opportunity.

South Woodham were rewarded early with a penalty in front of the posts for a high tackle and made no mistake with the resulting kick to go ahead 3-0.

The remainder of the first half play saw Holt forwards dominate at the set-pieces and the backs terrorise their opposition in the wide channels. Tries by Hal Riley, Bruce van Poortvliet and Jim Riley, as well as 12 points with the boot from Woodforde's man of the match Graham Ilsley, racked up an impressive 27 points by half-time, despite conceding an unconverted try close to the end of the half for a 27-8 lead.

Holt started the second half brightly and increased their advantage after 63 minutes with a well-taken try by Matt Jarry-Ryan from five metres out. Ilsley converted and added a penalty to his points haul four minutes later to move the score on to 37-8 with less than 20 minutes to go.

It seemed to be a very clear-cut result, Holt winning comfortably and already with a bonus point in the bag but South Woodham had not read the script. In the final 20 minutes of the game the hosts scored an incredible four converted tries and nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback.

With only a penalty by Ilsley in reply Holt held on by the skin of their teeth for a deserved bonus point away win, but will not be happy with the last 20 minutes of what was otherwise an assured performance.

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In what was an all-round good performance for Holt the second XV beat Norwich 2nds 104-0 in Eastern Counties 2N and the third XV beat Lowestoft 2nds 22-10 in EC3.

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