Promotion delight for Holt Rugby Club
HOLT RFC will be aiming to secure the London 3NE title on Saturday after gaining promotion with four games to spare at the weekend.
The Owls, who this time last year were playing in the Greene King Eastern Counties League, came away from South Woodham Ferrers with a hard-fought 28-15 victory to secure their 17th win in 18 league games this season.
The victory left Holt 20 points clear of third placed Stowmarket, who are now unable to catch them. The only thing left to be confirmed is the title, with Holt having a 16 point lead over second placed Harlow going into Saturday's clash with East London at High Kelling.
A win of any sort would confirm what has been on the cards for many months, a jump up to London 2NE as champions – and the possibility of league meetings next season with local rivals North Walsham, currently struggling against relegation from London 1N.
Holt will be taking nothing for granted against East London however. They are sure to provide a stern test as they will want to avoid relegation and have won their last two games, against Stowmarket and Norwich respectively. Holt won the first encounter away 42-12 in a game that was not as easy as the scoreline suggests.
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On Saturday Holt made the trip to Essex knowing their opponents would be no pushover on their own ground after recently recording an away win at Norwich.
Holt played against the wind from the start and did not help themselves by losing the first scrum against the head, leading to sustained onslaught by the home side. The defence held firm and were let off with a penalty miss.
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However the pressure was kept up and after nine minutes SWF found a gap in the defensive wall to open the scoring with an unconverted try.
Holt made every effort to make inroads into their opponents' half, but to no avail. SWF, who were playing with great determination, again besieged the visitors' goal line and increased their lead with another unconverted try after 20 minutes. As a result of this, the visitors lost a player to the sin bin.
From the re-start Holt did finally get well into SWF's half and from the resulting attack, were awarded a penalty which Allen made no mistake with to narrow the deficit to 10-3 after 22 minutes. The home side spent most of the remainder of the half putting Holt's defence to the test but despite one or two close calls the line was not breached.
Holt were left to reflect on the intensity of the home side's play and knew they would have to make full use of the breeze in the second half.
From the start Holt went on the attack and were rewarded after two minutes when Justice scored an unconverted try in the corner to reduce the gap to 10-8. This early success inspired SWF to again test Holt's defence before the game became a little fractious and the referee stepped in and awarded a penalty, which Allen put over to give his side the lead.
Holt then strove to increase their slender lead and were rewarded when Justice made a break from his own half and raced down the touch line to score a well taken try. With Allen adding a superb conversion, the lead had increased to 10-18.
The home side, despite these two scores against them in quick succession, stormed back, showing how dangerous they were when in possession. The visitors had a let-off from a charged down kick in-goal, the ball fortunately for them landing on the dead ball line, denying SWF a try. But it did not end there, as from the ensuing five metre scrum, the home side scored another unconverted try, making the score 15-18 after 22 minutes.
Now in the last quarter, the game had entered an interesting stage as neither side could afford to make any errors and Holt's lead was by
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