DIVISION ONE NORTH
Sudbury go into Saturday’s home game with Fullerians (2.15pm) as the only side in the division without a win after defeat at fellow strugglers Ruislip.
Too many unforced errors proved the Suffolk visitors’ downfall as they went up against the only other team in the league without a win to their name after the opening seven matches.
Sudbury failed to show the same sparkle which had seen them earn a morale-boosting draw with second-placed Chingford the week previously.
The game got off to a bad start for Ben Scully’s side when Tom Summers received a yellow card for hands in the ruck in the red zone early on and from the penalty the heavier Ruislip pack rolled the maul to score and convert.
Sudbury replied immediately though with a fine run from the backs putting Henry Cowling over, but with no conversion.
The visitors endured some more bad luck when Ruislip scored again. After the hosts kicked ahead, Shaun Smith had the ball covered but it took a wicked bounce away from him and into the arms of a Ruislip player, who ran in unopposed.
Sudbury were being pushed about in the scrums by a much bigger pack but were holding their own in the lineouts and the loose play.
But they missed a kick at goal midway in the first half and Ruislip scored again with a good move from their own half involving all their players before the winger ran from halfway to score.
Sudbury came back into the game for the last 10 minutes of the half but failed to score, leaving the points at 19-5.
The second half had a bizarre start, with Ruislip losing three players to the sin bin in almost three successive phases of play as Sudbury attacked their lines.
After the second player was sent from the field, Sudbury scored from close range from the penalty and the referee saw something in the melee and gave the third his marching orders with only seven minutes on the clock.
With a three-man advantage, the Sudbury forwards surged ahead but Sam Conning had to cross the line twice before his efforts were rewarded.
Sudbury should have made more of their numerical advantage, but their handling was not the best and spilled the ball more than once in contact.
Ruislip stretched their lead with another penalty before spilling the ball themselves as they crossed the line, letting Sudbury off the hook.
The hosts made up for the mistake with a good move up the centre to suck in the defence and shipped the ball wide to the right to score.
Smith replied for Sudbury after quick hands moved the ball wide to give his side the consolation of a four-try bonus point to move them off zero points in the table, following their five-point deduction for fielding an illegible player.
But Scully’s side were to be denied the losing bonus point when the home side once again used their backs to stretch the lead beyond seven just before the end.
The side will look to finally put their first win since promotion on the board, which would be the first since coach Graham Richards departed, when they host Fullerians at Whittome Field.
Their opponents, who were also promoted last season, winning London Two South West, currently occupy 11th place in the table, fourth-from-bottom, with two victories so far from their eight games.