Campion pull further clear
16:00 10 January 2014
London Div 3NE: Campion 26 Upminster 13
Campion moved seven points clear at the top of London Three North East with a derby win over Upminster at Cottons Park.
And they will look to take a sizeable step towards the title when they visit nearest rivals Old Cooperians for another local battle tomorrow (Saturday).
Coach Paul Larner said: “It was a pretty scrappy affair, but we were excellent in the second half and still have some players due back from injury for the game at Cooperians.”
Upminster began well up the slope, keeping the ball in tight, but when it went loose Campion’s Ryan Spurge ran in an unconverted try to open the scoring.
The visitors saw fly-half Tom Simpson sin-binned for a professional foul, which allowed Rory Crisp to open up an 8-0 lead for Campion with the successful penalty.
But Upminster then enjoyed their best spell of the game and after several phases from their forwards, flanker David Portch showed great strength to crash over from close range.
Chaz Goodchild added a brilliant touchline conversion to cut the gap to a single point and stepped up again just before the break to slot a penalty to put Upminster 10-8 up at half-time.
The second half followed a similar pattern as Upminster began brightly and enjoyed good possession early on, before Matt Buchan slotted a pair of penalties to put Campion 14-10 ahead.
Buchan then pounced on loose ball and produced an excellent offload to Joe Arnone, whose try was converted to open up an 11-point gap.
And although Goodchild replied with another penalty for Upminster, the home side had the final say as good play from their pack set up an unconverted try for Greg Lyons.
Upminster prop Dave Langley and hooker Sean Davis were praised for their efforts and the Hall Lane club will look to bounce back against Wisbech at home tomorrow.
Cooperians saw their home match against Old Brentwoods fall victim to a waterlogged pitch at St Mary’s Lane.
But captain John Woodhall says the squad are relishing the challenges ahead of them in 2014.
He said: “There’s a lot to be excited about in 2014.
“With a further 12-15 points under our belt we can really concentrate on the promotion push.
“Our strength in depth will really pay dividends as the season draws to a close. We can call on youth and experience as we try to achieve back-to-back promotions.”
n Romford & Gidea Park’s trip to London One North basement boys Old Haberdashers also fell victim to the weather.
They will hope to host Ruislip at Crow Lane tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm).