Stowmarket now one win from sealing the title

HAT-TRICK HERO: Stowmarket captain Joe Fifield claimed a hat-trick
HAT-TRICK HERO: Stowmarket captain Joe Fifield claimed a hat-trick

LONDON LEAGUE THREE

EASTERN COUNTIES

Stowmarket 50

Thetford 12

Stowmarket’s comfortable home victory against fifth-placed Thetford on Saturday ensures they go into this weekend’s away trip at fourth-placed Holt knowing a win will seal the title.

The Chilton Fields side top the table only by virtue of having lost less games than rivals Southwold, who travel to second-from-bottom Wisbech following their 33-6 home win over Woodbridge.

On Saturday, Stowmarket, who clinched the Suffolk Chadacre Cup in front of their home crowd in their last game, made probably their best start to any game this season as they dominated the early stages.

They took a well-deserved lead through hat-trick-scoring captain Joe Fifield, converted by full-back Dan Garrard.

But Thetford responded after a five-metre lineout forced them to play the ball all the way across the backline before a long kick and chase saw them eventually touch down under the posts to surprisingly tie up the game.

Despite continuing to have the bulk of play the home side struggled to exploit their advantage, until centre Joe Lancaster made an individual break to send the home side into half-time with a 12-7 lead.

A slightly nervous crowd saw Stowmarket then start to play against the conditions, and wondered what was in store.

They and the players, however, had the pressure eased as Fifield and prop Jack Haward both went over to extend the lead further.

Thetford again came back to score perhaps the try of the game as a well worked move saw them dot down under the posts.

With 20 minutes to go Stowmarket realised the next score would be very decisive in the outcome of the game, and with their superior fitness took the game completely away from the visitors as back row Alex Lancaster, skipper Fifield (2) and centre Stu Hill all crossed the line.