Rugby – Upminster 29 Wymondham 6

Wymondham returned from a tough encounter at Upminster with no reward for a battling team effort, although they will be heartened by some encouraging individual performances.

While the final scoreline may suggest a one-sided affair, in reality the result was in doubt until the last 15 minutes.

Upminster having won the toss, they chose, as expected, to play the first half up the notorious slope and against the wind, expecting the home forwards to take full advantage of the elements in the second half.

Wilson, playing in the centre to accommodate coach Justin Loveridge at fly-half had the first opportunity to register a score after just three minutes when Upminster were penalised for straying offside, but a long kick drifted wide.

Wymondham were soon to concede when, after eight minutes, Upminster were awarded a scrum for a crooked Wymondham throw into the lineout. Upminster, who claimed dominance in the scrum with their large pack, controlled the ball well before spinning it out to their backs who finished in routine fashion to leave an easy conversion.

Upminster were awarded a five-metre scrum when they were held up over the try line and easily drove the Wymondham forwards over the line to claim their second try which was duly converted to leave the score at the break 14-0 to Upminster.

The first 15 minutes of the second half were evenly contested but, on the hour mark, Wymondham suffered a blow when hard-tackling captain, Pena Sokia, was forced to retire with a knee injury.

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Shortly after, Wymondham recorded their first score when Sims, who had taken over the kicking duties, slotted a penalty after Upminster had been caught offside.

The Red and Blacks now began to come into their own and Upminster were forced to transgress to slow down the ruck ball and conceded a penalty in front of the posts for handling in the ruck from which Sims duly bagged the three points to make the score 14-6.

At this point Wymondham were beginning to think that they could return to Norfolk with some reward but almost immediately they were caught offside in the centre and from the penalty Upminster increased their lead to 17-6.

Unfortunately, the pressure began to tell on the pack and with the match moving into the last 10 minutes, Upminster won a scrum against the head and then moved out of sight.

John Mackay