BILLINGS HATRICK SEALS BONUS POINT WIN
Report by Graham Pratt
mark billings has been a positive influence at Rochford this season since leaving Southend but over recent weeks he has been using his skills to greater advantage as his team has started to gel.
His three tries today were of high quality and were at the heart of another excellent bonus point win for Rochford.
This was no one man performance though, as each player played his part against a good team and it was a step up from the previous week’s match.
Epping Upper Clapton caught their visitors out early on by creating an overlap on the wing to score a try.
This lead did not last long as a terrific catch and drive by the forwards saw second row Gregory Whight crash over for a try and for Matthew Stewart to add the two points to put his side ahead.
Although the Rochford scrummage had a hard afternoon against the bigger Epping outfit they were effective in the lineout where Greg Whight, Scott Turner and Jake Knowles won good ball and much livelier in the loose where the pack turned over a great deal of opposition ball.
Their cause was not helped when scrum half Jack Doherty was injured and had to leave the field but they re-organised with Steven Jay moving into that position and Stewart going to stand off.
Billings’s first try came shortly after to increase the lead and a Stewart penalty took the score to 15-5 at the break.
Epping created a number of scoring chances in the first half but basic errors, combined with poor finishing and some robust Rochford defensive work kept them from adding extra points.
In the first half Rochford had the advantage of a stiff breeze but they now had to play into it although that became less of a factor as the afternoon progressed.
Once again the home team started the half brightly and scored almost after the second session started when they went over for a converted try.
Rochford always looked like they could score points with ball in hand and a lovely flowing attack finished with mark billings gliding through to ground the ball and Stewart kicked the conversion.
The home team responded with a converted try to bring the scoreboard to 22-19.
Next up was wing Sam Edwards, who has been having a new lease of life this season, showed some aggressive running to go over for the fourth and bonus point try.
More good attacking play by the visitors resulted in Billings going over for his third try and Captain Stewart kicking the conversion to put his team 34-19 in front.
Going into the last few minutes it looked like that was it but Upper Clapton had other plans as they forced the play and managed a very late converted try to deny the icing on the cake and gained an extra try bonus point which, at present, keeps them just ahead in the league table.
Another excellent team performance with some good efforts all round especially from the likes of Scott Turner, Nik Grier,Tom Corbet, Steven Jay, Sam Edwards, Matt Stewart, michael guess and of course mark billings.
For those watching and playing it must be pleasing to see the hard work by all concerned beginning to pay off.
Next week the last league game of the season away at high flying Diss.
Now, that would be something if the boys could come away with some points from that match and really finish on a high. Why not?