Stowmarket 22, Lowestoft & Yarmouth 10
Lowestoft and Yarmouth lost out in an even game by three tries to two in a match that finished in near darkness.
L&Y started with the wind and slope advantage and had the most of the possession. Their front row included Australian Ben Selby for the first time alongside young props Chris Howe and Martyn Greenwood and they performed admirably in the atrocious conditions.
For the first half, Stowmarket rarely troubled the L&Y line and some good kicking by Scott Nelson and Russ Chapman kept play largely in the home half. The only score of the half came after 35 minutes when a lineout was forced on the Stowmarket line and when they tapped it down into the in-goal area, Callum Cashman charged through the line to touch down first. Dave Tiueti missed the difficult conversion to his two earlier missed penalties in tough conditions.
The home team were pleased to only be down by five at the break and knew well how to use their slope to their advantage. Mixing their kicking with their willingness to run wide they soon took the lead when their left wing skirted the defence and cut back for a fine individual touchdown under the posts.
They added a penalty from in front of the posts after 55 minutes, but L&Y were still well in the game, although an increasing frustration began to creep into their game as they fell foul of the referee.
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Some of his decisions stunned the visitors and gave Stowmarket the momentum to send in their right wing for an unconverted score. Five minutes later Stowmarket ran in a a second try after another penalty decision that angered the visitors.
L&Y lost Josh Fewkes and Tyler Beales to injury and Richard Bristo's extra bulk began to prove useful up front, while Stuart Moore did well on the wing.
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Marc Thomas thought he would try to emulate his opposite number by hitting a ruck from the side and found himself sitting out the final 10 minutes, but remarkably in his absence L&Y rallied and some excellent driving play in the dark smuggled Steve Adams over the line for a consolation score.
L&Y Director of Rugby Matt Jary commented afterwards. 'This was a closely matched game, which came down to being on the wrong side of some rough decisions.
'We had a win in us y but could do nothing about it. We had the rub earlier in the season against Old Streetonians but today it was Stowmarket's turn and well done to them for taking their opportunity'