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Rugby Union: Romford & Gidea Park claim bragging rights over Old Cooperians with victory in London Two North East clash

PUBLISHED: 18:06 04 March 2017

Action from the London Two North East clash between Romford & Gidea Park and Old Cooperians

Action from the London Two North East clash between Romford & Gidea Park and Old Cooperians

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London Two North East: Romford & Gidea Park 27 Old Cooperians 13

Action from the London Two North East clash between Romford & Gidea Park and Old CooperiansAction from the London Two North East clash between Romford & Gidea Park and Old Cooperians

Romford & Gidea Park enhanced their chances of finishing third in London Two North East this season with a derby success at home to borough rivals Old Cooperians.

The Crow Lane outfit held a comfortable lead at the break thanks to being clinical in their attacks, with Coops having little to show for their efforts despite enjoying plenty of territory.

The second half was a scrappier affair, though Park did claim a try bonus point, before the St Mary’s Lane outfit added a late consolation try with the final play of the match.

Romford could not have asked for a better start against Coops, with number eight Paul Bradley crashing over for the game’s opening try in just the third minute.

The powerful back row forward brushed off two tackles before barging over in the corner, with Mitchell Smith adding the extras from a difficult position.

Following the restart, the visitors were able to build some pressure close to the Park line, but a knock on prevented Coops from cutting the gap with a score.

The St Mary’s Lane club did get on the board in the 20th minute, though, when scrum-half Tom Morgan kicked a 40-metre penalty following a high tackle.

Eight minutes later, however, RGP stretched their lead with Bradley involved once again.

The number eight received the ball from the back of a ruck and drew a couple of defenders before passing for winger Rob Bundy to cross, though the conversion was missed.

Coops, however, hit back two minutes later when Morgan landed his second penalty of the afternoon following a dangerous tackle.

With five minutes left in the half, Romford scored their third try of the afternoon after several phases of play, with flanker Charlie Wilkinson emerging from the bottom of a ruck with the ball, but the conversion was again missed.

Park could have secured the bonus point with the final play of the first half, but Jamie Harbour knocked the ball on as the hosts led 17-6 at the interval.

Harbour went close again 12 minutes into the second half, but saw his handling let him down close to the line.

The bonus point did finally come in the 61st minute following a good passage of play between RGP scrum-half Barney Savill and centre Jake Jones.

Savill broke down the right before passing to Jones, who kicked forward, with scrum-half getting to the ball first and dotting down, but again Smith failed to land the extras.

With six minutes left in the match, Romford scored their fifth try of the afternoon as Bradley added his second.

Following a scrum just inside the Coops’ half, the ball found it’s way to the forward, who again brushed off a few tackles before crossing.

To their credit, Coops continued to press in search of a try and were given a boost when Harbour was sent to the sin bin late on after coming into a ruck from the side near the try line.

The visitors made their man advantage tell as Tony Bly crossed after the ball went through the back line from a ruck, with Morgan converting.

In the end, though, it was only a consolation try and Romford claimed bragging rights, and maximum points.

Romford: Smith; Bundy, Jones, Barfoot, Harbour; Braiden, Savill; Wood, Moughton, James; M Catchpole, Noyce; Wilkinson, Semain, Bradley

Replacements: A Catchpole, Brewer, Coker

Old Cooperians: Fayers; Awobowale, Moul, Bilton, Bly; Ratford, Morgan; S John, Ox, N John; Fox, O’Toole; Reed, Scott, Wilkins

Replacements: Flowers, Leader, Evans

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