SUFFOLK PLATE FINAL
Mildenhall & Red Lodge 5 Halstead Templars 55
Halstead Templars picked up the club’s first piece of silverware with a resounding victory on Saturday.
The Templars started at blistering pace, Josh Donaldson bursting through and offloading to Sam Edwards in the first minute, Edwards converting his own try.
Five minutes later the same combination saw Edwards score and convert again.
The home side were penalised at the restart, and Edwards converted the penalty from the halfway line.
Templars then won a lineout and drove towards the line, skipper Adrian Illingworth bursting through from short range, and Edwards converting from out wide.
Winger Oli Cuthbert showed his pace, offloading to Sam Forrest, who beat a defender before crossing the line, Edwards adding the extras.
Ed Merry claimed a high hanging ball, and offloaded to Forrest. He was tackled just short of the line, popping the ball back to Merry to crash through the remaining defenders. Edwards converted.
Mildenhall edged forward though penalties and lineouts. After the fourth penalty in quick succession the referee issued a warning. Donaldson made a great tackle but passed the ball off the floor, and was sent to the bin. Mildenhall punished Templars with an unconverted try.
Templars got back to scoring ways at the start of the second half. Ivan Fellowes stole the ball at a Mildenhall lineout, feeding Illingworth, who burst though the line. Illingworth took route one straight through two would-be tacklers to record his second try. The conversion was missed.
Mildenhall moved to within five metres of the try line, but Merry made a superb interception and ran the length of the pitch to score unopposed under the posts. Brett Ballard converted.
The final try came from a solid scrum, Liam Surgett breaking down the blind side. Steve Fellowes took the pass and headed towards the line, unselfishly feeding the supporting Edwards. The conversion was missed.
n The victory gives Halstead a place in the quarter-finals of the Suffolk Cup. They travel to Haverhill on January 20.
n Halstead travel to Sudbury Tigers on Saturday for the return Eastern Counties League Division 2S fixture. Unbeaten leaders Templars won the home fixture 39-5.