THREE NORTH EAST
Wanstead 19 Sudbury 17
Third in the league Wanstead may have been expecting an easy win, but Sudbury overcame low expectations to run them to a close finish.
Going into the game, Wanstead could boast an unbeaten home record this season while Sudbury went out to face them with nine enforced changes from the week before.
So it was a pleasant surprise when Sudbury only succumbed to defeat in the last five minutes of the game – though the loss, their fourth straight in all compettions, puts them in the bottom two.
Sudbury started well and ran in an early try with Tom Murray going under the posts and Tom Summers converting with six minutes played.
Wanstead had superior power in the pack and scored when they pushed the Blues’ scrum back over their own line to level the scores after 15 minutes of play.
Sudbury’s lineout routines were working well again and the backs were running freely against a side who favoured their forwards, but the cold, windy conditions did not help open play and Sudbury made quite a few handling errors when on the front foot.
Twenty minutes in, Joe Birmingham scored after Murray beat the defence with a jinking run.
Wanstead scored their second try, again from a five-metre scrum and a powerful shove to drive Sudbury back over the line. The try was converted to give them a two point lead at half-time.
Sudbury started the second half at pace and moved the ball from side to side through the backs.
Wanstead had no counter for the quick hands and Shaun Smith scored after only two minutes of play, but there was no conversion.
Sudbury coped better with the scrummaging in the second half, but were now playing into the elements.
Both sides seemed evenly matched with the majority of the half played in the centre of the park and the home side beginning to show signs of frustration at their lack of dominance.
Wanstead sealed the win with another pushover try five minutes from the end when Sudbury had a man binned for a bit of petulance and with the penalty scrum just beyond the five-metre line they again drove over to secure the win by two points.
n On Saturday, weather permitting, Sudbury are at home to East London (3pm) with a club lunch taking place ahead of kick-off. The visitors have not won a game this season so Sudbury will be putting every effort in.