Beccles put up a great fight

Chelmsford 19, Beccles 17

RUGBY: Beccles travelled to Chelmsford knowing that it was going to be a tough battle to take any rewards from the form team of the league.

Yet the final result could have gone to either side and was still open right to the end.

Whilst Beccles were disappointed not to take all four points, the hard-earned bonus point will likely prove vital in their campaign.

With the side now consistently displaying the form expected of them, confidence will be high when they face a tough and vital home fixture against Enfield tomorrow.

Beccles had a near full- strength squad, with Giddins starting in the second row, Willamson in the centre and Long on the wing.

With Beccles playing uphill and into a strong wind, they knew that the first 40 minutes would be difficult and heavily influence the final result.

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The strong Chelmsford side started well and began to put Beccles under pressure from their forward pack and were soon on the scoresheet.

After a number of phases of play, a good interchange from the home side’s scrum-half and back row saw them dive under the posts for the first score of the day.

Beccles soon reacted to that and began to match Chelmsford’s abrasive forward play, knocking them back in every exchange, making them work very hard for any reward.

As the Beccles pack began to dominate the set pieces led by Ling, Lake and Porter, the ball was moved wide along the Beccles line.

The Chelmsford backs put up some strong resistance and from a spilled ball, the home side’s winger collected and sprinted clear to score under the posts.

The following conversion saw Beccles trailing by 14 points after the first 15 minutes.

From this point Beccles never seemed to look back and despite playing up the hill and into the wind, the forwards began to pound the line. From a good take in the line-out by Paul Wilson, the Beccles pack drove at the home side’s line.

Sale marshalled his forwards well and orchestrated wave after wave of attacks at the home side’s line.

After a number of attempts Sales moved the ball wide, where Murray switched with Payne, who evaded two would-be tacklers to get Beccles on the score sheet. With the conversion narrowly missed Beccles turned around 14–5 at half time.

With the slope in their favour and the wind behind them, Beccles began to press the Chelmsford line and through some solid scrummages and driven line-outs.

Chelmsford, to their credit, kept Beccles at bay and regularly turned defence into attack. The Beccles back row of Rob Wilson, Bakzsa and Maeer continued to work tirelessly, pushing the big forwards back.

Rayner was making some electric runs from full-back, linking well with Willamson and Gedney and from one such surge took play deep into the Chelmsford half, forcing a line-out. From this, Beccles drove the ball towards the line and once more fired attack after attack at the home side from close range.

From here Payne slipped from his normal position in the backs to pick up from the breakdown, before being driven over the line by his supporting forwards.

With the conversion missed, Beccles made some changes. Hinsley replaced Giddins, who seems to be having his best season for many years, and Hoffman replaced young flyer Long.

Both teams continued to attack hard but both were organised and defences held firm. Leading the Beccles charge once more was Beccles man of the match Maeer.

As the game flowed back and forth, Chelmsford once more had the opportunity for a line-out close to the Beccles line and again set up a well-organised drive. Beccles had kept these attempts out all day, but on this occasion the home side barged over the line for 19–10.

Lake rallied his men and after a number of attacks, Beccles were awarded a penalty, where they opted for a scrum.

The powerful Beccles pack put Chelmsford’s scrum under pressure and began to press for the line.

The referee awarded Beccles a well-deserved penalty try under the posts. Murray slotted the conversion to bring the scores to 19–17.