CANVEY Island suffered a 58-3 defeat at London Three Essex leaders Epping Upper Clapton.

Canvey were forced to make eight changes to their starting line-up due to injuries, while a further five members of the team were forced to play out of position.

Epping matched Canvey’s normally dominant pack and, with a couple of speedy backs, they were able to exploit gaps in the Islanders’ defence to lead 15-0 at half-time.

The second half started badly for Canvey with Jamie Breading, Kieran Mayo, Ryls Eyel and Dan Bracknell all picking up injuries.

Epping took full advantage of the disruptions and piled on the second half misery for the Islanders.

Another injury saw them go down to 13 men but Canvey never gave up and the biggest cheer of the day came from the large Epping crowd when Brett Smith, playing at fly half, put a Jonny Wilkinson-esque drop goal over late in the game to give the Islanders some points on the board.

A Canvey spokesman said: “Despite the scoreline the lads can be proud of themselves.

“The heads never went down and at times we played some very good rugby.

“With no game next week the walking wounded can rest and hopefully we will have them all back.”