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East London battle to victory at Old Cooperians

PUBLISHED: 14:30 20 February 2020

Action from the London Three Essex match between East London and Campion at the Memorial Ground in West Ham (pic Tim Edwards)

Action from the London Three Essex match between East London and Campion at the Memorial Ground in West Ham (pic Tim Edwards)

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East London battled their way to a 12-3 win over a gritty Old Cooperians side in London Three Essex as Storm Dennis hit the UK on Saturday.

Quality rugby was at a premium, as both teams toiled in blustery wind and rain, but the visitors showed better footballing skills to claim victory.

Head coach Eddie Gooby said: "It wasn't pretty and the pitch was a bit of a mud bath in places, but we adapted the better and got over the line.

"It was a credit to both teams that they gave it a go in such awful conditions."

Cooperians had the best of the early play, but East London defended well and good kicking by Nick Botha and Conor Reilly relieved the pressure. Ed Brown then broke from the middle of the field but Max Stanyard couldn't hold onto the ball.

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The breakthrough came on 24 minutes when Botha cleared from the East London 22 and wing Andy Till chased hard, kicking the ball on for Kevin O'Donoghue to score.

Botha converted from the left, despite a strong headwind, to make it 7-0 before Cooperians hit back with a penalty from in front of the posts.

But the home side were then reduced to 14 men by a yellow card and East London's Till pounced on a dropped back and kicked on to touch down.

O'Donoghue looked set to add another score on 44 minutes when gathering a crossfield kick, but play was brought back for an earlier infringement.

Another opportunity went begging close to the home line as the scoreline remained unchanged and Gooby added: "We thank our supporters who braved the horrible conditions to witness a great performance and a well deserved victory against a much-improved and physical Old Cooperians side."

The win keeps East London in fifth place ahead of a home date with Ilford at West Ham's Memorial Ground on Saturday (2.30pm).

East London: Beattie, Bourke, Hogan, Gibson, Tidey, Parrott, Cassidy, C Brown, W Brown, Botha, Till, E Brown, Reilly, O'Donoghue, Stanyard. Replacements: Billinghurst, Shortland, Bracken.

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