Sudbury 47 Wanstead 17
Sudbury started 2018 with a superb home win against Wanstead, a side who had narrowly beaten them earlier in the season.
The crowd were treated to an excellent game of rugby, and the home supporters watched a well-drilled Sudbury side each do their job to give a team performance.
On a cold, damp day, Sudbury immediately shipped the ball wide in slippery conditions in an effort to keep the ball away from the heavy Wanstead pack.
This was a ploy which was to serve them well throughout the game, but surprisingly at the first scrum the Blues easily pushed their visitors off the ball to gain possession.
Sudbury’s first score came in the fifth minute from a move started in their own half, involving three pairs of hands, Frazer Beckett going over and Sam Rust converting.
From the restart Sudbury took play straight back deep into Wanstead territory.
The Wanstead scrum was in disarray and from the ensuing penalty Chris Whybrow took a quick tap to score, Rust again securing the extra two points.
Wanstead scored when they were awarded a penalty for offside in the Sudbury half and kicked for touch.
They took the lineout and rolled the maul over the line for a well-worked forwards’ try.
The visitors were now settling and had worked out they had to retain possession and just work through the phases, which they did quite successfully.
They took the ball into contact and then off-loaded, going through seven or eight phases, but the Sudbury defence was at its best, and often, after a prolonged period of forward play, Wanstead had travelled backwards.
In the last 10 minutes of the half Sudbury scored twice — Sam Maile from a break down the right, after a penalty lineout, and the bonus point came when Sudbury finished with a flurry as Austin Beckett darted down the wing and ran round behind the posts. Four tries, four conversions.
Sudbury started the second half by taking play to the Wanstead five-metre line but gave away a penalty.
Wanstead worked their way back down the pitch to the Sudbury five where the Blues gave away another penalty and collected a yellow card for a repeat offence.
Wanstead kicked for touch and lost the lineout, but did retain field position. They scored after a well-executed phase of close-quarter handling 12 minutes into the second half.
Sudbury bounced back by taking play straight back to the visitors, and from a penalty lineout on the left Sudbury lost possession.
But as Wanstead tried to ship the ball wide they knocked on, Charles Jackson picking up to score midway way through the half.
Wanstead scored again from a penalty line out and a maul to reduce the deficit, but again Sudbury bounced back with a try.
Frazer Beckett took a quick tap penalty on the half way line and ended his speedy solo run by scoring under the posts.
By this time Sudbury had all their replacements on, and fresh legs allowed them to up the pace once again.
Another break from Beckett saw him kick ahead twice and outrun the opposition, but it was Chris Whybrow who claimed the glory of the final score.
Wanstead rallied for the last few minutes of the game, keeping play in the Sudbury 22 in a desperate effort to salvage a try bonus point.
But the defence held, and a final scrum saw Sudbury take the ball and kick it dead to seal the win.
n Sudbury Talbots were beaten 27-23 by second-placed Hadleigh in an Eastern Counties Division One South fixture on Saturday.
The Talbots are at home to unbeaten league leaders Ipswich YM on Saturday (2pm). YM have won all 13 of their matches, picking up a four-try bonus point in each one.