East London legend Bracken bows out with try – and late conversion – in career finale
PUBLISHED: 14:00 13 April 2018
East London captain Dan Bracken produced a fairytale finish to his 29-year career in a 27-10 win over Canvey Island at West Ham’s Memorial Ground.
Number eight Bracken scored his 18th try of the season and kicked a conversion to bring curtain down on his playing days, as the only East London player to play every minute of all 18 London Three Essex games this season.
And the win secured fourth place in the league for the home side, level on 55 points with third-placed Braintree but with an inferior points difference.
It was the visitors who took the lead with a penalty on nine minutes, before the first East London try on 19 minutes.
It was set up after a charging run by second row Rob Yiannakou and left wing Kevin O’Donoghue slipped a pass to full back Ryan Billinghurst to score. The conversion was missed, but 10 minutes later Bracken offloaded to Sam Ames-Reddin and the hooker scored in the left corner.
Another conversion was missed as East London went into the break 10-3 ahead, but Bracken scored his try on 61 minutes following a spell of pressure on the right flank.
The conversion was again missed before a break by flanker Ed Brown was finished off by O’Donoghue for the home side’s fourth and bonus point try.
The hosts could not add the extras but it took Basildon 78 minutes to pose any threat as they scored with a penalty try.
East London were not done and scrum-half Will Brown kicked long over the visiting defence, chasing the ball and forcing the visiting full back into a mistake near his own line.
Replacement centre Joe Kelly scooped up the loose ball to score and give Bracken the opportunity to convert from in front of the posts for the final points of East London’s season and the last of the 37-year-old’s long career.
He said: “After 29 years in club colours I’d like to thank all those people I’ve trained with and played alongside. It’s been a pleasure and an honour.”
East London: Park; Ames-Reddin; Hogan; Schofield; Yiannakou; Brown; Hill; Bracken; Brown; Pearmain; O’Donoghue; Brown; Exley; Griffiths; Billinghurst. Replacements: Pearmain; Kelly; Combarro.