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London 2NE: Woodford 26 Old Cooperians 31

PUBLISHED: 17:30 18 September 2017

Old Cooperians RFC players huddle (Pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Old Cooperians RFC players huddle (Pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Old Cooperians made it two from two this season with a hard-fought victory at Woodford in London Two North East.

The visitors started brightly, making full use of the wide pitch, and soon found themselves ahead as centre Tony Bly slotted an early penalty in front of the posts.

Bly followed this up with another three points from his boot, as Coopers kept the pressure on the hosts in the first 15 minutes.

From the restart, the visiting pack kept the ball well, punching holes into the Woodford defence, which then allowed the Coopers backline to spread the play wide, with Bly, wings Kolade Awbowale and Harry Fayers all involved before full back Andy Dennis dotted down for the first try of the afternoon.

Woodford responded with pressure of their own inside the visitors’ 22 and came away with seven points thanks to a driving maul from their large set of forwards setting up a try in the corner.

Shortly afterwards, Coopers were reduced temporarily to 13 men, as centre Matt Carter was sent off for a high tackle, and hooker Jason Ox was sin-binned for failing to roll away at the ruck.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, it was the visitors who then troubled the scorers twice in quick succession as Awobowale burst down the left wing to put Dennis in for his second try of the game, before Bly capped off a fine team move to cross under the posts, increasing his side’s lead to 25-7.

The hosts immediately fought back with two scores of their own, both as a result of driving mauls that Coopers were unable to stop. Bly then slotted a further two penalties as an eventful first half drew to a close with the away team leading 31-19.

Coopers were back to 14 men for the second half and found themselves under pressure from another Woodford driving maul, before the home side finally made their extra man count to score a converted try under the posts.

The visitors then came agonisingly close to securing the winning bonus point, as Dennis was hardly adjudged to have used double movement to cross the try-line following a tap-tackle.

Coopers came under increasing pressure from Woodford in the final 15 minutes, but astute and resolute defending from the away side kept the hosts at bay.

This weekend Old Cooperians host Harlow.

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