UEA went into this Derby Day fixture looking for redemption after last year’s tight loss at Essex, and wanted to finish this highly successful season on a high.
The game started with ferocious intensity as both sides clearly looked up for it. It was UEA who looked like they had made a quick start to match when they crossed over the line, however, this try was ruled out as there was a forward pass in the build-up. Despite this, the hosts’ hard work was rewarded few minutes later when their winger crossed over for the opening try. The conversion was missed and UEA led 5-0.
Essex then got their first score on the board with a penalty to make it 5-3. However, it was UEA who were getting the better of their opponents early on and this was shown in their second try, which was finished off after some wonderful build up from inside of their own half, and the conversion went wide so the lead was now 10-3. The visitors replied almost immediately with a well worked score of their own to drag themselves back into the game and make it 10-8. Ill-discipline was costing Essex and they had a man sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes after constant infringements on their line. This did not halt their momentum as they score a try to go into the lead for the first time in the match. The half time score was UEA 10-13 Essex.
The 2nd half got off with the same intensity as the 1st half, with both sides well matched, but it was UEA who broke the deadlock in the 2nd half. A lovely chip and chase saw the ball bounce perfectly for the hosts over the line, and the home side pounced on it for their third try of the match, which pushed them back ahead at 15-13. Essex responded straight away in this back and forth encounter with a try to take the lead again at 18-15.
It was UEA who had the final say, when they were awarded a penalty try after Essex were penalised for a high tackle right on their line with minutes to spare to make the score 22-18. UEA did a fantastic job to hold onto the lead and seal victory after a truly historic season for the club.
UEA starting XV: Tom Abraham, James Phimister, Dan Shepherd, Tom Sanderson, Ben Schulte, Cam Baker, James Brading, Chowa Chanda (c), Ben Rendell, Will Perry, Adam Smith, Jack Guest, Oliver Mills, Finn Martin, Louis Frost.