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Holt poised for play-off showdown after finishing second in London 3EC

PUBLISHED: 08:09 11 April 2019

Jono Cooke on the rampage for Woodbridge during their 17-7 defeat against Holt  Picture: SIMON BALLARD

Jono Cooke on the rampage for Woodbridge during their 17-7 defeat against Holt Picture: SIMON BALLARD

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Holt have a huge game to look forward to at Bridge Road after finishing runners-up in London Three Eastern Counties.

They won their final match of the regular season 17-7 at Woodbridge last weekend to move above morning leaders Ely, who had already completed their programme.

But the victory wasn’t enough to finish top, with fellow contenders Wymondham winning 41-29 at West Norfolk to seal the title.

Holt now need to win a play-off to get promoted back to London 2NE, with East London the visitors on Saturday for what should be a showdown to savour.

The West Ham based side finished second in London Three Essex after winning 17 and losing five of their fixtures, with Holt’s superior 80 per cent win ratio guaranteeing them a home draw.

In slightly wet conditions Holt found the early going tough against a combative Woodbridge side and were forced to defend deep in their own territory for large portions of the first half. Rare visits to the opposition half remained unrewarded until the last minute when Bruce van Poortvliet broke blind from a ruck to feed winger Tom Goose who beat two defenders in a superb 40 metre dash to the line.

Despite the score being wide out fly-half Oli Jaggard secured the extra points with an impressive conversion to put Holt ahead 7-0 at the half-time whistle.

The second half started well for the home side with consecutive penalties, allowing a quick tap and go to be taken by Woodbridge in order to level the score at 7-7.

Holt’s powerful scrum was being used as an effective weapon to gain front foot advantage but the visitors couldn’t quite get their game going. It wasn’t until late on in the game that they finally took control with a well struck penalty from 30 metres out, Jaggard again proving accurate with the boot.

A late score saw Holt close the game out, with top try scorer and captain Ashley Woods making no mistake from a five metre scrum to dot the ball down for the visitors’ second try of the match, securing a hard fought victory.

Meanwhile Holt II rounded off a successful season under captain Tommy Rathleff with an 11-try 61-5 victory over a competitive second-placed Watton side that secured the Eastern Counties 2N title.

Holt led 22-5 at half-time with tries from Dan Ilsley, Nick Harding, Blake Collings and Barney Gill and a conversion by Jack Moore.

The second half saw tries at regular intervals from Craig Utteridge, Mark Sergeant, Harding (2), Will Allen, Sam Flanagan and Harry Graham and two conversions from Moore.

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