London 2NE: Holt claw their way to a muddy 10-5 win at Chelmsford
10:04 10 February 2014
Holt ploughed through the Essex mud to pick up a hard-fought victory against a side who started the day in fourth position.
All the remaining matches in London 2NE were postponed due to waterlogged pitches but the Chelmsford groundstaff had worked hard both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning to ensure the game went ahead. Their efforts resulted in a large and vocal crowd of both Holt and Chelmsford supporters watching a hugely absorbing and enjoyable match.
Chelmsford kicked off with a very strong wind behind them on a surface that very quickly turned to mud and lying water. With conditions very much in their favour the hosts attacked for the first 15 minutes and eventually cracked the defence, following a driving maul, by passing the ball through the backs to score a try out wide.
Chelmsford now got into their stride but the defence, led by Woods and Phoenix, held and frustrated the attacking side to such an extent that two home forwards received yellow cards.
Strong runs from Gray and Amiss continued to take Holt into the home team’s half but handling proved challenging in the contact area. Holt continued to press and, following a home side lineout, which was stolen by Phoenix, set up a driving maul from 20 metres out that resulted in Rumsby scoring a try. The wind continued to make kicking a lottery and the conversion was missed.
With both teams now back to their full compliment Holt continued to take the game to the home team and, through a succession of drives, created enough pressure to remain in Chelmsford’s half. Continued pressure was rewarded with an attacking scrum 10m from Chelmsford’s line. Cole and Hill now came into their own as they held firm, absorbed the initial hit and then drove Chelmsford back over their line, only for the conditions to frustrate the back row. The half concluded with Holt camped in their opponents’ 22 with the score 5-5.
With the conditions in their favour, Holt sought to take advantage and changed their game plan to suit, with Jackson now kicking to the corners, allowing both Riley and Humberstone to chase the ball down, thus keeping their forwards on the front foot.
Knowing the first score of the half could be decisive, Holt took a penalty kick following an infringement which narrowly missed. Then, after being awarded a penalty close to the Chelmsford line, Holt opted for a scrum and drove their counterparts over the line but again failed to score a try. The clearance resulted in a lineout close to the try line which developed into a rolling maul and allowed Rumsby to score his second try of the match. The kicking lottery continued and the try went unconverted.
Holt had put everything into the first 25 minutes of the second half and Chelmsford came back at them in the closing stages, but the visitors’ defence held firm.
The Woodforde’s man of the match was awarded to Amiss but it was on behalf of the whole pack.