Thrills at a premium as neighbours slug it out

Lowestoft & Yarmouth 9, Beccles 3: In a typically gritty local derby game L&Y and Beccles spent a cold afternoon knocking chunks out of each other with the home side eventually deserving the win despite some brave play from their near neighbours.

The poor referee had travelled almost three hours to the game to find two sides nullifying each other, but his quick whistles and reluctance to play any form of advantage only served to kill the game further as a spectacle and he did well to dissolve a 20-man brawl late in the game when several players could have been picked to send to the sideline.

The game started slowly as both sides sized each other up and it was sparked after five minutes when L&Y's full-back, Brad Sutherland, made a break taken on by Chris Howe. But Beccles infringed in the tackle and Russ Chapman coolly slotted a penalty.

Some excellent kicking by Dave Tiueti and Scott Nelson gave L&Y territorial domination, but Beccles were determined in defence and held their line well.

Chapman added another penalty midway through the half but defences dominated until the last play of the half, when Beccles broke into the L&Y half and forced a penalty converted by Luke Wade.

L&Y sensed Beccles were improving in the scrum but felt if they upped their tempo the visitors would eventually crack. However they didn't expect Beccles' stubborn refusal to lie down and the second half was largely a dour affair with the visitors increasingly winning the scrums and L&Y almost breaking away on the counter.

Chapman added a third penalty early in the half and missed another later on. Tiueti made a break through midfield which almost led to a score but Chapman fired a pass too hard to Dan Proctor and the chance went begging.

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Beccles caused a few hearts to flutter late in the game as they threatened with some rolling mauls and strong lineouts, but apart from the all-out flare up, the game fizzled out without ever having really excited. L&Y reach Christmas on the back of three deserved wins while Beccles are still in search of their first.