L&Y off to good start
Lowestoft & Yarmouth, 13, Holt RFC 6WITH a long rivalry and both teams scoring notable wins over Norwich in their pre-season warm-ups, this was expected to be a hot-blooded affair and L&Y's superior forwards married with a tight backline defence eventually proved decisive.
Lowestoft & Yarmouth, 13, Holt RFC 6
WITH a long rivalry and both teams scoring notable wins over Norwich in their pre-season warm-ups, this was expected to be a hot-blooded affair and L&Y's superior forwards married with a tight backline defence eventually proved decisive.
Very obvious from the opening exchanges was the unfamiliarity with the new ELVs as both the players and the referee had trouble interpreting the new laws.
L&Y were camped in the Holt half for the first quarter, Russ Chapman missing a long-range penalty and Holt repelling some determined thrusts at their line.
In the scrums L&Y held their own, despite it being Wayne Nixon's first game of the season and Graeme Newton having to switch to the unfamiliar tighthead role.
On Holt's second foray into L&Y territory, they too missed a penalty attempt only to be awarded a second chance for fullback Allen to open the scoring.
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L&Y restarted, pinning Holt in their 22 on the left. Simon Coleman was proving his worth in the line-out and captain Lewis Davey had no hesitation asking Scott Nelson to keep the pressure on by kicking to the Holt line. After a forward drive to within three metres, the defence were preparing for a Nelson charge in the centres but were foxed as Chapman, playing at scrumhalf for the first time in three season,s dummied and dived through.
Again the second period was played mostly in Holt territory and although they looked threatening in broken play, some great tackles by Kris Nelson, Tom Smith and Davey kept them in check.
After a break from Smith and Matt Howell down the left, L&Y needed another score. From a line-out on the Holt 22, Chapman released Zak Baxter to charge into midfield and he created just enough space for veteran fly-half Matt Jary to hurriedly squeeze over a drop goal and increase the lead to five points.
Marc Thomas was having an influential game at No 8 on his return to L&Y colours, and it was his pick-up and charge from a five metre scrum that put the match beyond doubt and gave L&Y their second try, again unconverted.
In the last 20 minutes, indiscipline proved costly to L&Y as Holt worked their way up the field through a series of penalties, and Jary was chosen for the sinbin after an alleged infraction at a breakdown.
Holt managed a period of pressure against the 14 men but stout defence meant they could only come away with another Allen penalty.
L&Y brought on Ben McElroy, Carl Stephenson and James Gee then closed ranks against Holt's increasingly desperate attacks and comfortably saw the game out .
It would be a surprise if the return leg of this match was not crucial to the league leadership late in the season.
If L&Y can overcome their nerves, be more aggressive at the breakdown and more willing to free their talented backs, then they will develop into a fearsome outfit.
J&H Bunn MoM: Marc Thomas.