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Slow start costs East London

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 April 2017

An East London player looks to get away from a Harlow opponent (pic: Steve Poston).

An East London player looks to get away from a Harlow opponent (pic: Steve Poston).

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East London 22 Harlow 32

An East London player kicks the ball forward against Harlow (pic: Steve Poston). An East London player kicks the ball forward against Harlow (pic: Steve Poston).

A slow start by East London cost them dear as they fell to defeat against London Three North East title hopefuls Harlow at West Ham’s Memorial Ground.

The home side began the day safe and secure in third place in the division just behind Harlow, who knew a victory would see them take over at the top from Wanstead with just one fixture remaining.

But Harlow were quickest out the blocks and had scored three tries and two conversions within 31 minutes for a commanding lead, although the scoreline was not a true reflection of the home side’s performance.

East London had matched their counterparts in terms of effort and territory, including having one try chalked off because of an earlier infringement.

An East London player looks to move the ball after being tackled by a Harlow opponent (pic: Steve Poston). An East London player looks to move the ball after being tackled by a Harlow opponent (pic: Steve Poston).

And they launched a fightback on 35 minutes when right wing Alex Mylchreest scored close to the flag in the right corner and fly-half Alan Ferguson added the conversion.

Both sides exchanged penalties in the first 10 minutes of the second half, with Ferguson’s successful kick coming from in front of the posts from close to the halfway line.

But two more unconverted tries from Harlow stretched their lead to 32-10, but East London were not finished and hit back on 72 minutes when hooker Ben Hogan delivered perfect line-out ball to the forwards.

The ball then came out to Ferguson who delivered the perfect pass to replacement centre Craig O’Donnell for him to score the home side’s second try of the game to the right of the posts.

An East London player looks to stop a Harlow opponent getting away from him (pic: Steve Poston). An East London player looks to stop a Harlow opponent getting away from him (pic: Steve Poston).

Ferguson added the conversion and, with normal time almost up, full-back Ryan Billinghurst collected a long high pass from Ferguson to touch down, before another Ferguson kick completed the scoring.

Skipper Dan Bracken said: “The one thing we must take from this season is that we cannot keep giving opponents a head start.

“Our overall game was good and we were dominating at the end. We have an opportunity to end the season well against Stowmarket at home on Saturday (April 8).”

East London: Gary Pearmain; Ben Hogan; Sam Corbett; Rob Yiannakou; Oliver Hillyer-Riley; Nick Parrott; Ed Brown; Dan Bracken; Will Brown; Alan Ferguson; Sean Cooper; Jono George; Andrew Little; Alex Mylchreest; Ryan Billinghurst. Replacements: Adrian Samuel; Craig O’Donnell; Corey Griffiths.

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