Upminster 23, Holt 10

Holt lost their proud 100pc record in London 3NE on Saturday when their long journey to the outskirts of London ended in defeat.

The visitors elected to play up the slope in the first half and soon conceded a penalty to go 3-0 down.

Holt made every effort to make progress but conceded two more penalties before the 10 minute mark which were both converted to give Upminster a 9-0 advantage.

Holt eventually made progress into their opponents' half and were rewarded with a penalty, which Allen kicked to reduce the deficit.

With half-time approaching Holt looked to be safe with a six-point deficit but this was not to be as Upminster scored a converted try on 36 minutes to take a 16-3 lead.

The second half started with Holt on the offensive, but they found themselves up against a determined side who were not going to surrender their lead easily.

A penalty chance was off target before Ben Girling took a close range penalty quickly and dived over a mass of players to score. Allen converted to bring Holt within range of a bonus point.

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Gradually Upminster made forays up the slope to put Holt's defence under pressure. This paid off when, after a driving maul, another converted try put Holt 23-10 behind and needing to score a converted try to put themselves back into contention for a bonus point. The last minutes of the game saw Holt make no progress down the pitch and it was the home who nearly scored another try.

The final whistle went and with it so did Holt's 100pc percent record at the 13th attempt. They had lost to a determined side who had shown on their visit to High Kelling earlier in the season that they would be more than a handful on their own ground.

Holt's lead at the top of the league was reduced by one point to nine, as second placed Harlow also lost but gained a point. Despite this setback, congratulations are due to coaches Ed Steed and Penny Chapman for putting together such a useful squad, giving Holt probably their best start to a season in their history.

Holt's third team won 31-26 at Lakenham Hewett's first team in a Woodforde's Norfolk Merit match.

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