11 WINS ON THE BOUNCE SENDS EAST LONDON INTO THE PLAY OFFS IN GOOD SPIRITS
By Eddie Gooby
Another good performance winning 29-10
Five tries and 11 wins in a row
East London secured a 29-10 win over local rivals Ilford Wanderers and go into next week’s promotion play-off game off the back of 11 successive victories in all competitions.
Second place in London 3 Essex but with a lesser wins per game ratio means the maroon and blues must travel to London 3 Eastern Counties runners-up Holt RFC for a place in London 2 North East next season.
East London started Saturday’s game at the Memorial Ground in West Ham without the same intensity they had brought to previous matches and Ilford, with their pack in the ascendancy, dominated the early exchanges.
But in the face of solid home defending, the visitors couldn’t turn possession into points. When the ball was ripped from them on the East London five-metre line on six minutes, outside centre Jack Roach collected the ball, threw a dummy pass, and raced the length of the pitch to score under the posts. Left wing Bill Brown converted. (Both pictured)
There was plenty of effort from both sides but little scoring opportunities until 34 minutes. Fly-half Kevin O’Donoghue kicked into space behind the advancing Ilford rearguard and the ball looked to be drifting out of play. But Roach never gave up the chase and managed to keep the ball in play with a kick forward from just inside the touchline. Bill Brown won the chase for the ball as it rolled over the try line to score. The conversion was missed.
A third try was added right on the break. Another stunning backs move by East London started by full back Sean Cooper resulted in Roach setting up O’Donoghue to score. Bill Brown converted for a 19-0 lead at half-time.
They secured the bonus point for four tries early in the second half. Forwards and backs combined for Roach to stretch out an arm to score in the left corner. The conversion was missed.
With an eye on next week’s promotion game, East London eased off and Ilford, now down to 14 players because of injuries, scored a try on 63 minutes that their forwards play deserved. It was not converted.
Roach scored a hat-trick try wide left with ten minutes remaining and Ilford added an unconverted try with the final play of the game.
East London head coach Eddie Gooby said: “We had to work hard against a determined and stubborn Ilford side that did everything they could to stifle us and slow the game down. Five excellent tries keep our winning run going but we need to work hard this week to be ready for the promotion play-off.”
East London RFC versus Ilford Wanderers: 1. Mantas Urbonavicious; 2. Lewis Bourke; 3. Paddy Coman; 4. Luke Staples-Preston; 5. Jack Millard; 6. Nick Parrott; 7. Ben Stern; 8. Dan Bracken; 9. Will Brown; 10. Kevin O’Donoghue; 11. Bill Brown; 12. Lachlan McKenzie; 13. Jack Roach; 14. Ed Brown; 15. Sean Cooper. Replacements: 16. Ben Hogan; 17. Dave Gibson; 18. Ryan Exley.