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Essex Div 1: Maldon 31 Millwall 0

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Millwall coach Dave Roberts paid tribute to his players despite a second defeat of the new year at Maldon.

Both sides attempted to play an expansive game on a snow-covered pitch, but the home side took their chances.

Roberts said: “Despite the result I can’t fault the boys’ effort.

“We have had a tough few weeks with a number of key players not available through injury, however we have blooded a few younger players through and we are improving each week, it will serve us in later games.”

Millwall started the stronger, pinning Maldon into their own half with a number of well executed kicks out of hand.

Maldon conceded a number of penalties at the breakdown, but Matt Rowland could not take advantage on a difficult day for kickers.

And the home side, recycling the ball well at the ruck and stealing Millwall lineouts, opened the scoring with a try from a maul, which was converted.

With confidence building, Maldon dominated in the closing stages of the half to run in three more tries and extend their lead to 24 points at the break.

The set-piece was a crucial factor as the hosts controlled the scrum and lineout, leaving Millwall with a mountain to climb in the second half.

The back row of Andrew McMahon, George Jenkins and Peter Knight made a number of carries after the restart, to help Millwall gain vital possession in the home 22.

Props Shaun Cooke and Rob Ralph also impressed, but despite an improved showing the east London side’s efforts went unrewarded as Maldon scored again five minutes from time.

Millwall captain Tom Ronayne added “It wasn’t pretty out there, the conditions made it a difficult game for both teams, but Maldon adapted well and were clinical when it mattered.

“Despite the result I feel that our boys can hold their heads high, we will put this behind us and refocus for our next game.”

► Millwall Rugby Club meets for training every Tuesday and Thursday and meets for Touch Rugby every Sunday, visit www.millwallrugby.com/getinvolved for more information.

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