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Late Billinghurst penalty sends East London through to final

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 February 2019

East London celebrate reaching the final of the Essex Intermediate Cup (pic: East London RFC)

East London celebrate reaching the final of the Essex Intermediate Cup (pic: East London RFC)

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Essex Intermediate Cup semi-final: Chelmsford 12 East London 13

A penalty at the death from replacement fly-half Ryan Billinghurst took East London to the final of the Essex Intermediate Cup with a 13-12 success at Chelmsford.

The 13-12 victory away at Chelmsford on Saturday was the first time the home side had been beaten on their home patch this season.

East London coach Eddie Gooby said: “It was an awesome team performance and a well deserved semi-final victory. These are the games we train hard for and we’ve won against a very good Chelmsford side. We played some great rugby.”

East London had the lead on nine minutes when right wing Sean Cooper collected a pass from fly-half Alex Pearmain and skipped round an attempted tackle to score, though the conversion was missed.

Both sides continued to probe for openings and the home side thought they had scored on 29 minutes, but were foiled when their try was disallowed for having a foot in touch.

Cooper also intercepted a pass on 31 minutes with a clear field in front of him, but knocked the ball on.

On 34 minutes, Chelmsford missed a penalty and two minutes later East London had Pearmain yellow carded for a late tackle.

The home side looked to take advantage, but solid defence from East London on their goal-line kept them at bay, including forcing a knock on when it looked easier to score.

The lead was five points at the break and it became 10 on 46 minutes.

A defensive clearance by inside centre Bill Brown was fumbled by a home back near his own line.

Chasing flanker Simon Edscer gathered the loose ball to score, but Billinghurst missed the conversion.

On 50 minutes Cooper, a constant threat down the right, dodged three tackles to make good ground, but eventually knocked on in the tackle.

Two quick tries by Chelmsford on 55 and 60 minutes, only one of which was converted, gave them a 12-10 lead and they missed an opportunity to extend it on 70 minutes when they failed with a long penalty in front of the posts.

East London, knowing they could still win the game, pushed on.

The pack, now bossed by replacement Dan Bracken at number eight, went through various phases to make ground down the left hand side.

With just a minute left they forced a penalty.

Skipper Nick Parrott let Billinghurst decide whether to go for the posts or kick to the corner for a line-out.

The ice cool fly-half called for the kicking tee and floated the perfect kick through the uprights for a one point lead.

The away side safely gathered the ball from the restart and retained possession while the clocked ticked down.

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