Five-star Ilford go Ongar and upward

Ilford Wanderers cruised to victory against Ongar in Division Two of the Essex Spitfire League.

Essex Spitfire

League Two

Ongar 3 Ilford Wanderers 29

Ilford Wanderers scored five tries on their way to a comfortable win over Ongar to maintain their unbeaten start to the league season.


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In a game littered with un-forced errors, defensive mistakes and poor handling, Ilford found themselves competing against a tenacious and aggressive Ongar pack, who kept the home team very much in the game despite the final score line.

Ilford totally dominated the first ten minutes of the game, establishing themselves securely in the Ongar half. Even though Wanderers had plenty of opportunities, they failed to score mainly due to handling mistakes and bad passes.

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But in the thirteenth minute, a powerful scurry by skipper Graham Bailey eventually broke the impasse as he scored an individual try from thirty metres out.

However, from the restart Wanderers allowed Ongar to strike back by falling offside, with the kick at goal successful.

For the rest of the half, Ilford were guilty of not retaining their composure under self-inflicted pressure and giving away too many silly penalties, although they were unlucky not to score on the stroke of half-time when fly-half Terry Marsons chipped ahead and was beaten to the ball just short of the line by the home full-back.

Wanderers composed themselves during the interval and scored straight away at the start of the second half. A determined Ryan Cord chase of the kick-off saw the Ongar fly-half panic under this pressure and his attempt at a relieving kick was charged down by Graham Bailey, who then re-gathered the ball and plunged over to score under the posts, making the conversion by Harry Watson simple.

Experienced fly-half David North had joined the game during the break, replacing Terry Marsons, and made an instantaneous contribution when he put second-row George Bye into a breach in the Ongar defence. From a lineout, North looped inside-centre Tom James and fed the ball on to Brooks, whose determined run was halted 10 metres out. Sem Kneeshaw then fed the ball on to North who drew the defence on to himself and then passed back inside for prop Chris Smith to plunge over to score.

Ilford were finding gaps and making holes in the Ongar defence and after 70 minutes Wanderers scored again following a high kick from North. This was chased by Cord who leapt to catch the ball and was held up ten metres short of the line, and from the ruck the ball was fed to Chris Smith, who drove boldly forward to score his second.

Ilford then won a lineout and again moved the ball wide to Ryan Cord, who was held up short of the line, but at the next scrum Paul Bailey picked up and drove through two tackles to go over in the corner for the last score.

Ilford Wanderers: Le-Beau (Jason Taylor 64) Marsons (Gayler 55), Smith, Donovan, Bye, Stephenson, G Bailey, P Bailey, Kneeshaw, Marsons (North 40), Watson, James, Brooks, Cord, Edimuni.

? Wanderers’ A team slump to a 72-6 loss at home to Upper Clayton, whilst their B team’s fixture was cancelled against Old Cooperians. The C team lost 38-0 at Wanstead.

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