Rugby: East London battle to losing bonus points against leaders
PUBLISHED: 13:00 05 December 2018
East London secured a losing bonus point from a battling display at London Three Essex leaders Epping Upper Clapton.
The 29-25 flattered the hosts, as East London impressed throughout, despite only having 14 men on the pitch for part of it.
Prop Mantas Urbonavicious was stopped inches short of the line early on, before Epping scored two converted tries to take control.
The visitors hit back when number eight Dan Bracken went over, but Epping replied with an unconverted try to make it 19-5.
Urbonavicious made amends for his earlier miss when East London forced their way over from a five-metre scrum, but Bracken was then shown a yellow card and the hosts added another try.
Ryan Billinghurst landed a penalty to make it 24-13 at the interval and East London began the second half well, although Bracken was held up over the line.
Epping missed a penalty, before Sean Cooper scored a fine solo try, intercepting a pass and racing in to score.
But the conversion was missed and Epping ran in another try to make it 29-18 with time running out.
Full-back Andrew Little burst through for East London’s fourth try and a bonus point, with Billinghurst adding the conversion to secure another point.
Coach Eddie Gooby said: “It was a battling performance and we pushed the leaders to the maximum on their home ground.
“The two bonus points could prove vital at the end of the season and I’m really pleased with the development of the squad.
“These are the sort of games we all want to be playing in every week and the more the players get used to these big matches the stronger we will get.
“I thought we handled the pressure of the game really well and have learned from the experience.”
East London host Kings Cross Steelers in a Memorial Ground derby on Friday.
East London: Hogan, Bourke, Urbonavicious, Kelly, Staples-Preston, Parrott, E Brown, Bracken, Mylchreest, Billinghurst, B Brown, Yiannakou, W Brown, O’Donghue, Little, Coman, Stern, Cooper.