Wanstead 38 Sudbury 17
Wanstead 38 Sudbury 17
SUDBURY had hoped to finish on a high, but the pronounced slope across the pitch left them struggling to adapt in this, their final game of the season.
Wanstead started strongly, using their forwards to power through the Sudbury defence after two minutes of play for a 7-0 lead.
Wanstead continued to use their dominance in the forwards to put Sudbury 14 points down with less than 10 minutes played.
The Blues rallied and managed to contain Wanstead, who were playing a controlled game, and when Sudbury got an opportunity to run with the ball and spin it wide they were able to stretch the defence and run round the outside.
Eventually, after half an hour, Charlie Jackson was able to run round the defence on the left and score under the posts, the move having started in the centre of the park, with quick hands through the centres to get the ball out to the wing.
Wanstead replied almost immediately with a forward-led pick and drive from the edge of the 22 to score and convert for a 21-7 lead at half-time.
Bart Minter was involved with a clash of heads, which left him with a nasty cut eye and concussion early in the second half. This forced a reshuffle in the pack and veteran Gary King’s addition to the front row steadied the pack, but it was the home side’s forwards who scored again.
Half-an-hour into the second half, Sudbury made a second substitution and moved Fraser Beckett up to scrum-half.
He spirited the ball away from the forwards to put the backs clear for Matt Johnston to run down the right wing to score, with the conversion by Tom Summers.
A penalty on the Sudbury five-metre line gave Wanstead an easy try as the ball carrier powered over from close range with 35 minutes played.
Jackson got his second try from a scrum on the 10-metre line and a good run out wide saw him beat his man.
Once again from the restart, the Wanstead back row trundled up the park to put the ball wide at close range to for the final score.
A well-organised pack was the undoing of Sudbury, but when they did get the ball in hand the wingers were able to run round the defence out wide.
Sudbury will stay in London 3NE next year and can celebrate being awarded the RFU Club Seal of Approval.
* EASTERN Counties and Sudbury-raised player Gabriel Carroll played in England Under-18s’ 38-10 win over Ireland at Old Merchant Taylors School, Guildford.
Meanwhile, fellow St Josephs College pupil Austin Beckett played against Italy and Wales for England Under-16s last week.