South Woodham Ferrers made the perfect start to their London Two North East season with a 32-15 win against Saffron Walden.

A dominant display saw Woodham score four tries against a team that had beaten them in the four previous encounters.

The clash was also notable for the return of Stewart Whatling, who was playing his first game for the club in eight years, and an off the bench debut for Jake Knowles.

The game started brightly for Woodham with an early trademark score under the posts for Liam Searle and Jamie Cox added the conversion.

More home side pressure resulted in a second score when they were awarded a penalty try following a high tackle by the last defender on man of the match scrum half Kieran Ballinger.

The tackle also brought about the first of five yellow cards in what was bizarrely not a dirty game.

Despite being a man down, the visitors then enjoyed a period of attacking dominance during which the referee evened up the teams by yellow carding Cox for a shoulder charge.

In their second visit into the Woodham 22, Saffron Walden scored the first of their two tries.

Soon after, the visitors were awarded a penalty which was converted following Jack Reeve’s yellow card for not releasing.

With the home side down to 13 men, Saffron Walden looked set to move clear but as the half drew to a close it was Woodham who scored next with a penalty from Terry Stiffell to make 17-10 at half-time.

In the second half, Woodham showed some real promise with some fine running play behind a dominant pack.

The ball was allowed to do the work as Woodham stretched the Saffron Walden defence, allowing Reeve to run in the home side’s third try of the day.

A missed conversion and, shortly after, a missed penalty could have seen the home side home and dry early in the half but it was the visitors who scored next.

Saffron Walden were awarded a penalty against the run of play and they capitalised by kicking deep into the Woodham 22.

They scored a well worked push over try from the resulting line out.

Woodham were soon back in control with two further scores - a penalty converted by Alex Baker and a fine try from close range by Tate Holliday.

The final period of the game was notable for two further yellow cards.

The first, a high tackle, for Saffron Walden and the second for Woodham’s Neil Gittos.

Elsewhere, Thurrock lost 28-25 to Medway in a closely-fought London One South clash and, in London Three Essex, Basildon - who were relegated last season - were beaten 61-12 at Campion in their opening game.