BRAINTREE RUGBY UNION FOOTBALL CLUB 2018/19 SEASON.
Any copy queries to BRUFC Publicity Officer John Troup on 07860-179347.
BRAINTREE…29 OLD COOPERIANS…28 (London 3 Essex)
BRAINTREE moved back into fourth place in London 3 Essex with the narrowest of victories on Saturday, but it took a last gasp try to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The black and ambers started brightly against their Brentwood-based opponents at Robbs Wood but kept squandering possession due to a series of sloppy errors.
They eventually got their act together and opening the scoring after 10 minutes when winger Josh Wadforth finished off a move that started in their own 22.
Wadforth then converted his own score to give Tree a 7-0 lead, only for the visitors to level matters with their own converted try just three minutes later. 7-7.
But they restored their lead on 15 minutes following an attacking scrum in the Old Cooperians’ 22.
A centre field switch saw winger Tom Drew cut through a swathe of defenders to score, his opposite wing Wadforth doing the honours with the boot from the conversion.14-7.
Having edged themselves back in front Tree seemed determined to make the visitors look good.
A loose pass while on the attack allowed Old Coops to snatch possession and kick through for a converted try that levelled matters on 19 minutes. 14-14.
In a see-saw game it was then the visitors’ turn to grab the lead on 25 minutes when Tree had a penalty awarded against them in a central position.
Having to defend the subsequent 10-metre line-out they fended off a rolling maul only for the ball to be spun wide through the backs for a converted try. 14-21.
But the black and ambers regained parity just before the interval when full-back Glenn Whyatt entered the line at pace on the edge of the 22 to score a fine try.
Wadforth added the extra points from the conversion and the two sides turned around level pegging at 21-21.
The home side started the second half strongly and nosed themselves in front when Wadforth kicked a penalty to establish a 24-21 lead.
Both sides then struggled to dominate but disaster struck for Tree when midway through the half they were adjudged to have deliberately knocked on whilst repelling an attack.
The ref awarded the visitors a penalty try that they then converted to put themselves 28-24 ahead, with their hosts losing a man to the sin bin in the process.
Tree’s fans feared the worst but a saviour stepped forward in the shape of Whyatt, who roared in for his second try from a penalty deep in Old Coops’ 22.
The black and ambers backed themselves at another scrum, securing the ball for Whyatt to cut through the opposition line to score and snatch victory at the death. 29-28.
BRUFC head coach Clarke said: “It was certainly not our best team performance of the season.
“But to win the game in the last minute was a testament to the players’ desire and determination to get the result.
“A few key decisions went against us during the game but I was really pleased that the players kept going to the very end to secure a bonus point win.”
Chair of Selectors David Gilder said: “We needed the victory needed to kick start the second half of our season.
“Old Cooperians took their chances well, but I feel that we made them look good and a lack of precision kept letting them back into the game.
“We were solid in the scrum again and our line-outs functioned better than last week which gave us the possession we needed.
“We need to cut out loose kicks and handling errors to really push on with our scoring and properly put games out of reach.”
Tree have a weekend off and now return to London 3 Essex action on January 26 when they travel to third-placed East London for what is sure to be a tough match.
Colebrook Man of the Match: Glenn Whyatt.
BRUFC: Whyatt, J Wadforth, Abbott, J Young, T Drew, Dann, K Joslin, T Colebrook, Hardin, Prince, T Carslake, Mlambo, J Stanhope, C Marsden, M Pickles. Reps: Page, Perry, Moss.