BRAINTREE RUGBY UNION FOOTBALL CLUB.
Any copy queries to BRUFC Publicity Officer John Troup on 07860-179347.
BRAINTREE…11 OLD COOPERIANS…7 (London 3 Essex)
BRAINTREE began 2020 with a welcome victory and exacted revenge on Old Cooperians for the defeat they suffered in the return fixture earlier in the season.
In a tense and closely fought encounter it was the visitors who took the lead on 10 minutes with a converted try. 0-7.
Tree took some time to get a foothold in the game but eventually put some points on the board on the half hour mark courtesy of a penalty from wing Elliott Swallow. 3-7.
After the break though it was a different matter and the black and ambers started to assert some authority on the game.
Tree took the lead five minutes into the second half when a quickly taken tap penalty enabled the forwards to drive through the opposition defence.
That man Swallow did the honours as the ball was worked out to the backs and he crashed over in the corner for an unconverted try. 8-7.
Old Cooperians still looked dangerous but could not add to their tally and it was another Swallow penalty on 73 minutes that sealed the points for Tree. 11-7.
But they had a nailbiting end to the game as the visitors got within five metres of their try line with the last play of the game, only to concede a penalty.
BRUFC Head Coach Jamie Clarke said: “It was a really dogged display by the lads and I’m delighted with the win.
“Old Cooperians started really brightly. They dominated the set piece early on and we had to defend really well to keep them to just the one score.
“But our set-piece improved after a shaky start and we began to ask questions offensively, finally being able to overhaul them and win the game.
“I’m proud of our players - their effort and desire to win this game was clear to see and every player gave everything.
“I don’t usually like singling people out but Charlie Fairchild was immense and justifiably won the man of the match award.”
The victory leaves Tree in fifth place in the league and still within reach of the promotion-chasing group.
Tree are back in London 3 Essex action this Saturday when they entertain Barking at Robbs Wood.
BRUFC: Whyatt, Swallow, Levy, Dann, Worster, Olley, Page, Baker, M Benfield, C Fairchild, W Turner, M Pickles, C Marsden, Humphreys, C Kerr. Reps: Abbott, Masters.