Old Streetonians show courage against Rochford
OLD STREETONIANS could not make it two upsets in a row, but came closer than the final score line suggested, at the end of a tough battle with league leaders Rochford.
This performance will give the east London side confidence they can match all the teams in this league, and bonus points are there for the taking against second placed side Braintree next week.
Rochford started strongly, crashing over from close range after some loose tackling around the Street fringes.
Street hit back almost immediately, the forwards getting their reward after Andy Dunn had secured field position with his precise right boot. Drive after drive at close quarters eventually saw Duncan Mackay come up with the ball, to level the scores at seven apiece.
Stung into action, Rochford came back again, showing the class that has got them to the top of the league.
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Ruthlessly spotting and then exploiting mismatches and overlaps in Street’s defensive line, they quickly had two more scores.
Street defended valiantly, but fell off too many tackles and were too slow to organise, to be able to compete when they didn’t have the ball.
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A penalty between the tries for Rochford showed that Street had earned the visitors respect, and that they knew they were in for a tough game. And they were right, as the Street pack scored again, this time with a pushover try under the posts, Matt Atkinson getting the final touch.
The game continued to half time at a pace Street have not been used to this season, and it was producing an enjoyable spectacle to watch and be part of. The east Londoners knew they were still in at half time, at 24-14 down; and while a win was still on the cards, either of the four-try or losing bonus point were well within grasp.
Street started the second half well, building pressure down the right, after quick recycling from the back row and the half backs Nick Yip and Dunn.
However the story of the half was soon to become apparent. As Street pounded away in the Rochford 22, white line fever eventually took hold, and they could not convert their possession into points, Douglas and Atkinson both going close.
When the ball was eventually turned over, Rochford cleared well, and when they created chances, they executed their moves with aplomb.
Street came back again though and were nearly rewarded with another push over try, only for one of the pack to kick the ball back through the scrum to Rochford. Another chance saw Mackay again held up just over the line.
As Street tired in the final stages, Rochford produced one more score, again seeing and exploiting gaps faster than Street could fill them.
Rochford ran out worthy winners, but despite the confidence the performance gave the coaching staff, this will go down as a bonus point lost in the final evaluation. Some points, from somewhere will be needed away to Braintree next week.
Old Streetonians: Perkins, Mackay, Wollaston (Hollingsworth 30), Fountain, Jones ( Roberts 70), Rafferty, Douglas, Atkinson, Yip, Dunn, Donegan (Nicholson 60), Barham, Atkinson, Perry, Downey.