RUGBY: Rochford Hundred dug deep to secure a 21-21 draw with Old Albanians.

The draw saw Hundred move two points clear of the National League Two East drop zone and came despite a troubled build up to the game.

Head coach Danny Cleare explained: “The preparation going into the game on Saturday was far from ideal.

“We couldn’t train on Thursday due to the weather and a number of roads being closed and lads not being able to get to training.

“We lost Chris Shields from the squad on Friday evening and we lost Paul Bradley Saturday morning due to his hamstring.

“Going into the game we didn’t really have a settled squad and even George Phelps Knights our analysis man, did us a massive favour and sat on the bench when Paul pulled out so we could name 20 players.”

But Cleare felt the chaotic build up resulted in his side’s slow start.

“Probably because of some of the disruption we didn’t start the game well and went down 14-0 in the first 15 minutes from two very soft tries,” said Cleare.

“After this we made a couple of tactical changes and moved Najee (Mundicha) from second row to tight head and we got a lot more stability at scrum time.

“The remainder of the first half was all us and we scored two lovely tries from sustained pressure and fully deserved to be drawing at half time.”

And the second half was also closely fought.

“The second half was pretty even but we definitely edged the territory and possession,” said Cleare.

“Another soft try from an over throw at the lineout left us trailing again but we did get a little bit of luck for our last try when they knocked on and effectively stopped playing allowing Mark Ikhifa to just pick up the ball and run it in.”

However, Rochford could have gone ahead late on.

“We gave ourselves an excellent chance to steal the game with a last minute penalty,” said Cleare.

“But unfortunately it drifted wide and the points were shared.

“It was a massive effort from the boys though.

“We had a bare 20 for the game and even a number of the lads that played were held together by tape so to play as well as they did was a testament to their character.”

Elsewhere in National League Two East, already relegated Westcliff lost 81-3 at Barnes.

In Regional Two Anglia, Southend Saxons lost 14-10 to HAC at Warners Bridge and will end the season in fourth place.