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RUGBY: Depleted L&Y slip up

PUBLISHED: 10:53 26 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:52 06 July 2010

South Woodham Ferrers 37, Lowestoft & Yarmouth 12

AS the season nears its end over the Easter period, and with little but enjoyment to play for, L&Y have already turned an eye to their challenge in next year's league programme with regards to organisation, coaching, players and a new tactical approach.

South Woodham Ferrers 37, Lowestoft & Yarmouth 12

AS the season nears its end over the Easter period, and with little but enjoyment to play for, L&Y have already turned an eye to their challenge in next year's league programme with regards to organisation, coaching, players and a new tactical approach.

The sad consequence of this is that it has been hard to maintain levels of commitment and enthusiasm for the remaining games this season, which has led to some bizarre results in the past few weeks.

South Woodham leap-frogged L&Y in the league with this resounding home win and their brand of off-loading and running rugby proved too much for a determined but depleted L&Y outfit.

In the fixture at Gunton Park earlier in the year, L&Y scraped a close three-point win in an expansive and exciting 62-point game, largely due to their ability to wrap up possession and drive the heart out of the slighter Essex opposition.

This time, shorn of a number of experienced and key forwards, L&Y had to struggle for any first phase possession, which automatically gave the lively South Woodham backs the forward momentum which eventually cut their visitors' throats. Surprisingly for L&Y whose woeful goal-kicking has cost them games this season, it was the boot of fly-half Scott Nelson that kept them in the game until half-time.

The game started at a rollicking pace, with L&Y playing with the considerable wind advantage. Nelson bagged his first shot at goal from 40 metres only minutes before South Woodham worked a three-on-one down the short side, which allowed their winger to race past helpless full-back Matt Jary for a converted score. Nelson replied with another goal after an offside penalty, but then South Woodham increased the lead again with an unconverted score down the same wing, following some excellent handling. Youngsters Ryan Oakes and Callum Cashman were doing their best as line-out jumpers, but were conceding height, bulk and experience to the well-drilled Essex side and struggling to compete even on their own ball. Props Graeme Newton and Richard Bristo both had prominent games in the scrums and in the loose, but South Woodham were causing real problems for the defence by their continual off-loading out of the tackle and good movement of the ball.

Nelson pulled back another two penalties and despite only a handful of half-breaks by captain Marc Thomas and elusive centre Myles McAlone, along with a promising break from flanker Kristan Taylor Crisp, L&Y were equal on the scoreboard. Just before half-time South Woodham slotted a penalty of their own and L&Y knew they had to up their game to match the home team in the second half.

The visitors started brightly, with bursts from Thomas, Cashman and Chris Howe, along with some hassling defence. However, with the wind and slight slope in their favour, South Woodham found it easy to clear downfield, and from field position on the L&Y 10-metre line, a backs move freed their full-back to round the defence for the first of four more tries. Credit must be given to L&Y's young side for not giving up, and desperately trying to attempt to attack whenever they could steal the ball, but when a miscommunication in the last minutes allowed the South Woodham centre a clear run to the line for their final score, it was obvious from the slouched L&Y shoulders that the better side had won on the day.

L&Y's eyes must turn to a strong home performance against Basildon next week after the last vice-president's luncheon of the year.

Team: Bristo, Howe, Newton (Protheroe), Wilkinson, Cashman, Oakes, Taylor Crisp (Scheijde), Thomas (capt), Castleton, Nelson, Boardley, Adams, McAlone, Scott, Jary.

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