Sudbury 21 East London 23
SUDBURY suffered a narrow loss in front of a large crowd for the last home game of the season, but have done enough to avoid relegation this season.
They had beaten East London away and had hopes of doing the double, but it was not to be.
In a close game London were first to score with a converted try under the posts after eight minutes from a lineout in the 22. The ball was quickly recycled into the centre of the park for a simple try.
Sudbury replied with a drive deep into the opponents’ half to give field position and Tom Summers was rewarded with a penalty kick after London were penalised for boring at the scrum.
Summers slotted over a second kick after 20 minutes when London were caught offside.
London replied with a penalty of their own but Matt Johnston put Sudbury back in the hunt with a fine try wide on the right when Sudbury secured the ball at the breakdown. Scott Harries made the initial break, a kick ahead put the ball behind the defence and Johnston ran in to score.
A yellow card for Sudbury gave London an easy kick in front of the posts to take a two-point lead at half-time.
Two minutes into the second half a long pass from Lee Cooper put Johnston in the clear out wide to put the home side back in the lead.
London replied with a penalty when Sudbury failed to roll away at the tackle. Sudbury crossed the try line again but the referee adjudged a forward pass.
Johnston got his hat-trick on 20 minutes when quick hands shipped the ball from the centre of the park to the right wing.
East London were using the wind and the slope to gain territory by kicking to the corners and after a period of pressure, with half an hour played, East London scored from a scrum in the Sudbury 22 and the conversion gave them the two point lead.
Sudbury could not break through in the last 10 minutes as London played a tight game to win.
Fortunately the loss yielded a bonus point and the teams below Sudbury cannot overtake them to put them into a relegation situation.
The last game of the season is on April 14 away at Wanstead. There is a bus for anyone who wishes to travel.
n IN the Suffolk League Division One, Sudbury’s second string lost 39-16 at a physical Ipswich II in the penultimate game of what has been a successful campaign for Suds.
Ipswich deserved their win due to their sheer strength, but Sudbury can keep their heads held high going into their last game of the season on Saturday, April 14, against second-placed Haverhill (3pm).
Whatever happens on that day, manager Chris Donnelly and skipper Paul Mather can be proud of the jobs they have done, leading to a probable third place finish in Division One, and providing many good players to the firsts throughout the season.