L&Y bow out of RFU Senior Vase

Basildon 17, Lowestoft and Yarmouth 10

L&Y’s superb season finally came to an end after they finally succumbed in this RFU Senior Vase London and South East semi-final to the Basildon team that pipped them to the league title last weekend.

In an unforgiving and bruising encounter both teams battered each other with everything they had, but ultimately L&Y paid the price for some shoddy defence in the first couple of minutes and some disruptive injuries.

Basildon now face high-flying Teddington in the next round and are only two games from Twickenham.

L&Y started well but a fumble in midfield conceded possession and some indecisive defence allowed Basildon to work up to the visitors’ line. A quick recycle and a deft unload then let the fly-half through under the posts for a converted score.

The nervous beginning continued with a poor restart then a couple of missed touchfinders, before L&Y finally began to settle. Scott Nelson and Josh Fewkes worked some space for Myles McAlone to make ground, but he ignored the glaring overlap and ended up injured in the resulting tackle, severely depleting L&Y’s attacking options.

Tom Dare came on to full-back and Brad Sutherland moved up into centre.

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An accurate kick by Nelson earned a line-out near the Basildon line which the home side won, but L&Y forced the turnover and great hands from Marc Thomas, Daniel Boardley, Chris Howe and Sutherland made the space for Ryan Oakes to plunge over in the corner. Russ Chapman pushed the conversion wide.

Play was end to end, and some of the hits unforgiving for the remaining 25 minutes of the half. Basildon hit an upright with a penalty attempt but some huge clearances by Nelson and L&Y’s superior scrum pegged them back.

Flanker Kristan Taylor Crisp was everywhere making tackle after tackle and big Jake Titterington caught the eye with a few trademark charges. But without McAlone, L&Y struggled to finish off and too often allowed Basildon off the hook with turnovers.

The second half started with a flashing break from scrum-half Chapman, but again he was hauled down short. Basildon worked position near L&Y’s line far on the left, and a breakdown led to a harsh sin-binning for influential hooker Howe.

Basildon wisely opted for the scrum against L&Y’s depleted pack and their giant No 8 bundled over from the base for a second converted score.

With their ganders up, the home side went back on the attack and again earned a scrum five metres from the L&Y line. If they conceded the try the game and the season was over. But Steve Powles stood in at hooker, and after an almighty shove, the No 8 was held up over the line.

Another scrum and L&Y forced a knock-on, then another had to be reset before Howe came back to reinforce the besieged visitors.

Captain Thomas managed to steal possession in midfield and the brave visitors cleared their lines.

Shortly afterwards Dave Palmer broke from his wing into midfield found Sutherland and Boardley, who smartly chipped to the corner and earned a line-out from which Titterington drove over the line.

Chapman missed the conversion but L&Y were back in the match. Basildon then stretched out the lead again with a penalty from in front of the posts, setting up a frantic final five minutes.

L&Y made ground into the Basildon 22 from where a driving maul and crashes by Howe and Callum Cashman all threatened the line.

Three penalties were awarded and each time L&Y took the scrum. Titterington seemed to stretch over at one point and Nelson was high-tackled with the line at his mercy, but neither event got the decision.

Eventually a Basildon boot got the ball into touch for a deserved progression to the next round.

L&Y: Bristo, Howe, Titterington, Wilkinson (Cashman), Oakes, Powles (Adams), Taylor Crisp, Thomas (captain), Chapman, Nelson, Palmer, Fewkes (Newton), McAlone (Dare), Boardley, Sutherland.

Tries: Oakes, Titterington.