Holt maintain good run with hard-fought victory
- Credit: Archant
Holt 10 Romford & Gidea Park 6
Holt maintained their good form with a hard-won victory over their visitors from Essex who they were playing in the league for the first time.
The three Riley brothers, James, Ed and Hal, made their first appearance as a trio for Holt first team and all three helped them gain the edge over their opponents.
Ed Riley, making his first start for the team, deputised admirably at scrum-half for captain Bruce van Poortvliet, who was injured.
Although Romford had the bigger pack, the Holt forwards worked tirelessly to secure enough ball to enable their talented back line to stretch the opposition defence, enabling Holt wingers, James Riley and Matt Jary-Ryan, to be a constant threat.
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During the early part of the game the wet conditions contributed to several handling errors from both sides. Romford started the brighter and, after five minutes, took a three-point lead with a penalty converted by their full-back McVeigh.
The closest Holt came to scoring during the first quarter was a failed drop goal attempt by Graham Ilsley and a snaking run by James Riley which nearly resulted in a try.
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Twenty minutes into the game Holt levelled the score with an Ilsley penalty.
Thereafter they raised their game and enjoyed a dominant spell of possession.
The best move of the game was started by Holt's No 8 Woods, who off-loaded to Graham Ilsley, in a manner that Sonny-Boy Williams would have been proud. Ilsley took the ball well and made ground before feeding Matt Jary-Ryan who out-paced the Romford defence to score under the posts. Ilsley converted to give Holt a lead of 10-3.
Holt continued to press for the rest of the first half and the early part of the second half but were not able to breach the Romford defence for a much-needed second try.
Romford were next to score with a second penalty by McVeigh to reduce Holt's lead to 10-6 and this made for a nail-biting final quarter for the Holt supporters.
With the conditions getting more slippery by the minute, and Romford gaining in confidence, Holt were much relieved to hear the final whistle to end this close encounter, the result of which consolidated Holt's position in the top half of the league.
Woodfordes man of the match for Holt was winger James Riley.
Holt will be be looking to maintain their promising spell on Saturday afternooon when they travel to bottom of the table Basildon, who have lost all seven of their matches in London 2NE so far this season.