Graham Pratt: Rochford must step up a gear after Chelmsford victory

Echo: Try-scorer - Jon Baker got Rochford Hundred's second try Try-scorer - Jon Baker got Rochford Hundred's second try

ROCHFORD Hundred finally returned to action with an impressive 31-7 win against Chelmsford at Magnolia Road.

Third-placed Hundred had been forced to wait for the second half of their season to get underway due to the adverse weather.

And they resumed their campaign with a hard-fought win over Chelmsford, who sit just below them in the table.

But their first team manager Graham Pratt knows the team must improve ahead of their next outing against second-placed Saffron Walden, whom they trail by nine points.

“It was our day at the weekend,” said Pratt. “We were not to be denied and we finished up deserved winners.

“But, at the same time, we know we will need to go up a further gear next week against second-placed Saffron Walden if we want to continue the challenge for second spot.”

Rochford went in front against Chelmsford when Tom Ashton ran half the length of the pitch to score a try under the posts, which he also converted.

Moments later, full-back Jon Baker finished off another good piece of Rochford play with ball in hand after a Chelmsford breakdown.

Chelmsford tried hard to create chances but poor handling and errors due to the muddy conditions did not help their cause.

The extra fitness and awareness of the home side’s backs and forwards exploited any weaknesses and gradually they took control of the loose and set scrums to turn defence into attack.

The line-out was evenly contested with both sides winning good ball but as the game progressed Rochford’s extra aggression picked up some extra useful loose ball.

Rochford always looked dangerous with ball in hand and became a handful for the visitors’ defence.

After some impressive pressure play from the home forwards hooker Scott Chivers drove over to score and Ashton added the two points to make it 19-0 at the break.

The second half became a tighter affair as conditions took their toll but wing Tom Pickering scored a brace of tries, one of which was converted, as the Rochford took their chances.

Chelmsford, in spite of the big deficit, kept up the pace in the final quarter and presented the home outfit with some problems.

They were finally rewarded with a converted try late in the game and then nearly scored again, but Rochford kept them out until the final whistle blew.

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