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Defeat leaves Millwall staring into the abyss

PUBLISHED: 14:39 06 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:04 05 October 2010

Millwall 5, Bancroft 10 MILLWALL Rugby Club s roller coaster season continued on Saturday with a heart-wrenching 10-5 loss to Bancroft at Victoria Park. Needing victory to add valuable competition points following the stunning win over Upper Clapton the p

Millwall 5, Bancroft 10

MILLWALL Rugby Club's roller coaster season continued on Saturday with a heart-wrenching 10-5 loss to Bancroft at Victoria Park.

Needing victory to add valuable competition points following the stunning win over Upper Clapton the previous week, the Isle of Dogs club did all the right things early in the first half.

A break by centre Matt Barker 10 minutes in sent winger Ben Smith over in the corner to score and Millwall sensed another big win was on the cards.

Bancroft thought otherwise and hit back with a try of their own, which was duly converted into a 7-5 half time lead.

Hooker Leigh Blinman, playing against his former club, was concussed by a Bancroft elbow on the stroke of half time, forcing an interchange and a change in game plan for the hosts.

Millwall fired up in the second half and dominated possession. For a period of 25 minutes, the home side held Bancroft inside their own 22 but struggled to convert the pressure into points.

Smith went close to grabbing his second try after a sweeping backline move, but the big winger fumbled to ball over the line as he was bundled into touch, after some superb scrambling defence from Bancroft.

A penalty late in the half saw the visitors extend their lead to 10-5 and once again in 2008, Millwall found themselves needing a converted try to secure victory.

In the final minute after winning a scrum against the feed, Millwall spread the ball wide, moving it through no less than five sets of hands.

No8 Nick James caught the final pass and dived over as Millwall celebrated what they thought was a levelling score only for the referee to rule a forward pass and then call time on the tough-fought battle.

The loss means Millwall need to win their three remaining matches - including a last round match-up with league leaders Dagenham - to avoid certain relegation.

Should they win two out of three, they will need other results to go their way to continue in Essex 1 next season.

l Millwall's attempts to increase female participation in the sport are progressing well as a dozen new ladies turned out for the second Try Rugby session at Millwall Park on Saturday morning

The next session is planned for March 29, although the club is investigating running the sessions on a weekly basis due to the increased demand.

Any ladies interested in trying something different should visit www.venusrugby.com or email tryrugby@millwallrugby.com alternatively, call Jodie on 07963833655.

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