Old Cooperians in seventh heaven for Christmas
PUBLISHED: 11:13 21 December 2015
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London 3NE: Old Cooperians 19 Stowmarket 15
Old Cooperians will go into the Christmas break with plenty of cheer after securing a seventh successive win to move up to third place in London Three North East at the weekend.
Following on from their gutsy triumph at league leaders Epping Upper Clapton last week, they met Stowmarket on home turf, but were made to work hard for their latest success.
Former players had enjoyed a Christmas lunch in the pavilion before the match and spirits were high, although conditions were windy and muddy.
Coopers went into the game with confidence as a result of their impressive winning streak, but shortly after kick off, that confidence was briefly knocked as Stowmarket were awarded a penalty and converted it for a 3-0 lead.
The rest of the first half saw Coopers come back with plenty of brute force, with winger Barnie Moul scoring an amazing try inside the first 10 minutes after a daring sprint from the 22m line.
Forwards George Wilkins and player-coach Pat Reed also scored convincing tries after a great team effort to push the ball over Stowmarket’s line.
The conversions were taken by full-back Tom Morgan, who had kept his nerve to slot a matchwinning kick a week earlier and brilliantly scored two out of three more from difficult angles with the wind against him.
Due to his fantastic all-round play, Morgan was later declared man of the match as Old Cooperians sailed into a convincing half-time lead at 19-3.
But after some stern words during their half-time team-talk, Stowmarket retaliated and cut into the Coopers’ lead with two tries after many attempts were made to break through the home side’s strong defence.
Although Coopers produced some great passing moves and attacks of their own, their teamwork fell apart and they failed to add to their points tally for the rest of the game.
The atmosphere both on and off the pitch became a bit more tense as the second half wore on, with a few refereeing decisions questioned by both clubs.
And there was some dispute at the final whistle as to whether a full 40 minutes had been played, with the game still being on a knife edge.
Coopers held on for their seventh straight victory, though, and are well placed at the halfway point of the season.
After being relegated last year, the team certainly appear in great shape, with hopes high for a decisive comeback in the new year.