Upminster 20, Beccles 20
Beccles travelled to Upminster with a depleted squad and were further reduced in numbers when Sam Harmer failed a late fitness test, forcing director of rugby Michael Penney to name himself as a reserve. But they still returned home with a hard-fought draw.
The visitors' luck soon changed when a long range penalty effort from Luke Wade struck an upright and was collected by Chris Frost following up. He was brought down just short of the line but quick ball was transferred to James Giddins who crashed over for a converted score. Upminster had the benefit of the slope and soon scored two tries neither of which were converted. A further try close to the posts for Upminster was again unconverted followed by a long range penalty from Wade just before half-time to keep the Bulls in contact.
The hosts scored a well taken try wide out on the right soon after the break to secure a bonus point and looked to be running away with the game. Beccles defended stoutly with open side Darren Maeer making a real nuisance of himself while Callum Roberts and Matt Calver were also solid in midfield.
Wade kicked a penalty from halfway and after two relatively simple attempts were missed by Upminster Beccles saw the chance to salvage something from the game.
Keith Johnstone and man of the match Adam Edwards had grafted hard all game and combined to steal Upminster ball with aggressive counter rucking. Wade put the ball deep into the 22 and from the lineout second team skipper Jon Pitts touched down after a rolling maul.
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Wade showed the value of a top class placekicker as he coolly slotted the conversion from the touchline.
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