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Lee Power at St Mary’s Lane
Saturday, March 15, 2014
London Div 3NE: Old Cooperians 5 Campion 24
Table-topping Campion took a big step towards being crowned champions with a dominant display in this derby success.
Defeat for nearest rivals Cantabrigian left Campion 11 points clear with three games to play and although third-placed Cooperians have two games in hand, they are now 16 points adrift of the leaders.
A bonus-point win for Campion over Sudbury at Cottons Park next weekend would seal a second successive league title and promotion.
Coopers had inflicted the only defeat thus far on Campion in the earlier derby meeting between the sides in October and the visitors made a determined start in their bid to redress the balance.
Coopers lock George Wilkins was left with a bloody nose in the early exchanges, but the home defence did well to hold up Lee Fitzmaurice following a lineout catch and drive move.
Matt Carter’s strong run took the hosts over halfway for the first time, but Campion’s smothering defence swallowed up the attack and Dan Bolton countered, only to lose his footing as he tried to sidestep his man on the 22.
Campion had momentum, though, and drove their way towards the line before their stalwart number eight Stephen Canny – scorer of four tries at Harlow a week earlier – finished off from a five-metre scrum.
Dan Walshe added the conversion, with Matt Buchan absent through injury, to make it 7-0 but Coopers almost got away for a try of their own soon after as Matt Watkins scooped up a loose ball in the home 22 and sprinted away on the left, before Kayode Awobowale took it on a few more yards before being well tackled.
The home side saw Ryan Leader and Billy Wyatt yellow-carded late in the first half, though, and were made to pay just before the break as Campion took a rolling maul towards the line before Tom Hosgrove touched down.
Campion extended their lead within two minutes of the restart, thanks to a penalty try which Walshe converted for a 19-0 lead.
And the game was over as a contest on 50 minutes when the visiting backs moved the ball out to Ryan Spurge, who raced up the left touchline to go over in the corner.
Joe Bilton’s sliced restart actually went backwards, rather summing up Coopers day, but they grabbed a consolation score when full-back Harry Fayers broke through the Campion defensive line from halfway and, when he was tackled just short, Pat Reed picked up to go over.
Campion saw Stefan Auckloo yellow carded soon after for a high tackle on Luke Taylor, but it was too late in the day for Coopers to take much advantage as the leaders recorded their 16th win in 19 to edge closer to another promotion.
Cooperians: C Taylor, John Woodhall, B Wyatt, R Leader, G Wilkins, P Reed, L Taylor, M Carter, M Dennis, J Bilton, Kayode Awobowale, Watkins, Holmes, Kolade Awobowale, Fayers. Replacements: B Pryer, D Pudney.
Campion: T Hosgrove, R Kyle, L Fitzmaurice, J Dupree, J Baldwin, J Ngan, D Bolton, S Canny, M Bogard, T Ronayne, P Ronayne, D Armstrong, O Waugh, R Spurge, D Walshe. Replacements: S Auckloo, M Ashmore, W Trapp.