Rochford’s battle to beat drop gets a shot in the arm

First published in Sport

Rochford Hundred gave their survival hopes a huge boost by grabbing a surprise 35-29 win over sixth-placed Eton Manor.

With relegation rivals North Walsham at home to rock bottom Braintree, Rochford knew only a win would stop them slipping down in to the drop zone.

But a determined display led to them coming out on top and delighted their first team manager Graham Pratt.

“This was our third five point win on the trot and if we can do the same at Brentwood this weekend then we will stay up,” said Pratt.

“I thought we were good value for the win as well and if we had put away more of our chances then we would’ve scored a lot more points and made the victory more convincing.”

Rochford were clinical early on though and opened the scoring with a well taken try from winger Nick Brown which was converted by Kit Branch.

Ruislip responded with a penalty kick, but it was Rochford that set the pace and kept possession to launch a number of attacks.

Good Ruislip defence and some poor finishing kept the score the same until Branch put over another penalty after 30 minutes to increase his side’s lead.

Branch further increased Rochford’s lead with a try which he converted but Ruislip took advantage of some slack defence to score a converted try just before half time.

However, the home team had the final say of the half with another well struck Branch penalty to turn round at the break 20–10 up.

Branch kicked a further penalty but the West London outfit showed they are made of quite stern stuff and came back with another converted try to reduce the arrears to 23– 17.

Another try from Brown soon put Rochford further ahead and they went 35-17 in front when Greg Stubbs also touched down and Branch converted.

But Ruislip replied with two converted tries to get to within six points of their hosts at 35-29, however Rochford held on to secure a vital victory.

The win keeps them one place and one point above North Walsham, in the relegation zone, with just one more match to go.

Rochford travel to 10th placed Brentwood this weekend while Walsham are away to Bury St Edmunds, who sit fifth in the London One North table.

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