Last-kick loss for Cooperians
PUBLISHED: 11:30 20 February 2015
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London 2NE: Old Cooperians 15 Saffron Walden 17
Old Cooperians suffered the cruellest of defeats against London Two North East rivals Saffron Walden at St Mary’s Lane.
The former pupils looked set for a vital victory in their fight against relegation, but the visitors slotted a penalty with the last kick of the game to claim a 17-15 victory.
And instead of four points, the home side were left with just one losing bonus point for their efforts ahead of a daunting trip to title chasing Chelmsford tomorrow (Saturday).
The Cooperians squad was hit by injuries and unavailability, but took the game to their mid-table opponents from the start, with hard tackling keeping the visitors at bay.
Saffron Walden came with a clear game plan of using their fly-half to kick into the corners and pin the hosts back and when Coopers were penalised at a scrum, the visitors took advantage to open the scoring.
The lead lasted only minutes as Coopers turned the ball over in midfield, before moving it wide for Tom Wheatley and Harry Fayers to combine, with the latter crossing in the corner to put his side 5-3 up.
But the home side were then penalised at the breakdown, with Saffron Walden’s fly-half slotting another penalty through the posts to give his side a 6-5 lead at the break.
A try from a rolling maul and another penalty extended Saffron’s lead to 14-5 after the restart, before Coopers had Jack Portsmouth harshly sent off for an apparent tip-tackle.
It looked as though the game was lost, but the Cooperians pack had other ideas and, despite being down to 14 men, they rallied into the Saffron Walden 22, with Gregory Fox crashing over to reduce the deficit to two points.
Coopers slotted a 30-metre penalty to take a slender 15-14 lead with 10 minutes left, but while attempting to play possession rugby they were penalised for holding on and Saffron’s fly-half made no mistake with his kick.
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