Brave effort from Sudbury against the league leaders
Sudbury 14 Tring 52
Despite another loss, Sudbury gave a superb performance against top of the table Tring, who are by far the strongest team in the league.
Sudbury kicked off up the slope and retained field position in the early set pieces.
The hosts only contained Tring in the scrums, but were doing much better in the lineout.
Tring’s crisp passing and organisation was evident from the start, but determined defence by Sudbury held up their progress.
Three tries in the first 20 minutes from the visitors showed their strength, a forwards try from a rolling maul and a try from a team effort, working through the phases from the halfway line, gave the crowd an entertaining first quarter.
But Sudbury were far from being overrun and made the visitors fight for every point.
The second quarter Sudbury settled and only shipped one further score, while mounting their own attacks.
In the final 10 minutes of the first half, Sudbury applied pressure to the Tring line and forced them to give away several penalties in defence, leading to a penalty lineout.
It was from this that Sudbury scored, winning the ball and putting Ben Stanton through to score under the posts for a 7-28 half-time score.
The second half followed much the same pattern of the first half, with some good rugby played by both sides.
Tring, well organised and efficient, and Sudbury, tackling as though their lives depended on it, and then attempting to run the ball when they created a gap.
Fewer opportunities due to the persistence of the Sudbury team reduced the scoring rate of the visitors in the second period, but not the quality of the rugby.
Events of the first half would repeat themselves when Stanton scored again for Sudbury in the last minute of the game.
Although it was a loss for Sudbury, it was a sterling effort by the team against a Tring side who will surely be promoted this season.
n Halstead Templars remain third in Eastern Counties Greene King League Division Three South after securing a hard fought 15-14 win at Clacton II on Saturday.
The Templars travelled to struggling Clacton with high hopes of repeating the 69-15 win from early October.
However, Clacton are a very different team down at the seaside and Halstead, with several last-minute withdrawals, knew it would be no pushover.
Despite spending most of the first half defending, the Templars took the opportunities when they came.
The backs, far superior than their opponents, used good passing and pace out wide to send Tom Ranson through to score first.
The second came from a penalty try after Cameron Ross was brought down without the ball, and Josh Donaldson’s attempted quick tap was also stopped illegally.
Brett Ballard converted one from two and the Templars had a 12-7 lead at half time.
A second half penalty from Ballard was all the Templars could manage, but despite Clacton scoring again, it was enough to secure a 15-14 win.
n Eastern Counties are delighted to announce the appointment of Aaron Swanborough as the manager of the women’s team. With preliminary trials having taken place in November, and most recently last Sunday, the team have two further sessions at Stowmarket RFC (Feb 5) and Thetford RFC (Feb 19), before the squad is selected ahead of the friendly against Essex, at Stowmarket RFC (Apr 2).