Match Report: Stowmarket Rugby Club win London 3 Eastern Counties league with final game victory
Stowmarket completed their most successful ever season on Saturday, with a 34-14 away victory over Holt securing both the league title and promotion.
Victory in the league comes just weeks after also winning the Suffolk Cup.
Stowmarket went into the game knowing the nothing short of a bonus point away win was likely to be needed.
The game started ideally for the visitors as they secured the ball from kick off and then maintained possession for the next seven minutes constantly attacking the Holt line before flanker Bob Lancaster smashed over the line for the opening try converted by full-back Dan Garrard.
Stowmarket continued to dominate play and when the ball was moved to centre Joe Lancaster he was able to go low and duck to the left to score out wide.
Holt continued to play but found themselves struggling to contain the driving play of Stowmarket and, with 30 minutes on the clock, fullback Dan Garrard had scored two more tries to give Stowmarket the four-try bonus point they had been looking for before the half time break and a 22 – 0 half time lead.
The break came and, almost inevitably, Stowmarket relaxed but, slighty against the run of play, scored a further try through centre Joe Lancaster.
To their great credit, Holt continued to try and play, and a missed tackle round the side of a breakdown saw their second row go over for a try under the posts, this served to raise their game further and they were again able to cross to score near the posts.
At this stage of the game, with 15 minutes to go, Stowmarket looked to be the side struggling as only dogged defence kept Holt at bay.
The large travelling support began to look a little nervous as Holt continue to play most of the rugby in the Stowmarket half.
However the Stowmarket defence which has been a mark of the whole season continued to function and Holt were kept at bay, and despite struggling to get on the front foot with 10 minutes to go open side and Man of the Match James Simpson was able to attack down the blind, and with extra attackers there to draw off the defence, with a sidestep and a burst to the line was able to take the game away from Holt.
In the dying minutes and last play called, number 8 Nic Kegge was able to make an ugly kick to touch to allow the celebrations to start by Stowmarket.
This was the final game for the 1st XV this season, and we wish Southwold — who finished in second in the league — all the best in their playoff game next week.
Finally a big thanks to all the players, coaches, volunteers who have made this such a successful season for Stowmarket.
For reaction to the game, as well as further news from the club, pick up a copy of this week’s Bury Free Press.