Hard-earned draw a timely boost for Holt

holt rugger

holt rugger - Credit: Archant

Holt 17 Rochford Hundred 17

Holt put an end to their poor run of form with a much-improved performance which earned them a hard-earned draw with their visitors from Essex, writes Iain MacBrayne.

Compared to previous games, Holt were much more comfortable in the line-out where No 8 Ashley Woods and hooker Jake Powell worked well together to gain good clean possession which was equalled by the overall performance of the forwards in the scrum. As a result Holt enjoyed some good possession which enabled them to effectively launch their backs.

Rochford, as ever, were a good match for the home side and an early penalty was converted to put them three points ahead.

As the game settled down to an even contest Rochford suffered two yellow cards which put them on the back foot. During this time Holt took the lead with a well-worked try by fly-half Geoff Flathers which was converted by Graham Ilsley to put the home side 7-3 in front. The visitors responded with a converted try after a period of pressure on the Holt line to give them a lead of 10-7 at half-time.

The early part of the second half was evenly balanced until a loose ball from Holt enabled Rochford's left-winger to collect the ball and sprint half the length of the pitch for a try which the visitors converted, giving them a seemingly comfortable lead of 17-7.

During the last quarter Holt produced their best period of play. A clever break by scrum-half and captain Bruce van Poortvliet cut through the Rochford defence and his well-timed off-load enabled centre Dan Ilsley to touch down for an unconverted try which reduced the deficit to 17-12. Further pressure from Holt resulted in prop Aaron Cole showing his pace and handling skills for a try in the corner in the dying minutes of the game. The hosts had a chance to win the game but the conversion attempt failed and the referee blew the final whistle.

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The Woodfordes man-of-the-match for Holt was wing-forward Dan Watts who was part of a very effective back-row unit with George Seaman and Woods.