SOUTH Woodham Ferrers moved up to fifth in the London Two North East standings with a 20-7 win against Stowmarket.

The victory was Woodham’s second in succession and saw them dig deep in the difficult wet and windy conditions which meant neither team were able to produce their best rugby.

From the kick-off, Woodham put together a series of promising attacks to pile pressure on the visitors.

And that paid off when scrum-half Kieran Ballinger broke through a gap in the stretched defence and raced for the line.

Only a last-ditch tackle prevented him from scoring but he was able to offload the ball to a flying Sevie Hurrell who went over the line for a try Alex Baker converted.

More pressure from the home side paid off with a series of visits deep into the Stowmarket 22 as the Woodham pack took control.

The pressure appeared to rattle the visitors as they fought to keep Woodham out.

A yellow card for a high tackle was to prove to be the defining moment of the game and Woodham took full advantage of the extra man.

For the 10 minutes of the sin bin Woodham piled on the pressure and hammered at the Stowmarket defence.

They were rewarded with a try for Ballinger, which was again converted, and then a penalty taken by Baker.

Heavy rain made it difficult for both sides to play with any freedom and it seemed that the only way forward was to keep it tight and carry.

Back to the full 15, Stowmarket seemed to cope better with the conditions and enjoyed a period of ascendancy.

But some great defending and some handling errors saw opportunities go begging and Woodham used the strong wind to clear their lines.

The visitors got their only score of the day when, after being camped in the Woodham 22, they finally managed to get the ball over the whitewash for a try to cut the home side’s lead to 17-7 at the break.

Woodham had Hurrell sent to the sin bin after the break but the hosts were able to stay in front with Baker kicking a penalty to make sure of the win.

In London One South, Thurrock lost 29-10 at Havant and are now ninth in the standings.

There was also more disappointment for Basildon in London Three Essex.

Basildon were relegated from London Two North East last season and were beaten 77-5 by Chelmsford at the weekend as their winless start to the new campaign continued.

In Essex One, Billericay beat Clacton 17-7 while Canvey Island were handed a home walkover win against Harwich & Dovercourt.