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Rugby: East London 29 Maldon 24

PUBLISHED: 11:00 11 December 2017

East London players look on (pic Tim Edwards)

East London players look on (pic Tim Edwards)

Archant

East London moved up to third in the London Three Essex table with a 29-24 win over Maldon at the Memorial Ground in West Ham on Saturday.

The home side started the better of the two and full-back Sean Cooper scored tries on five and 19 minutes.

The latter score saw Cooper produce an impressive run down the right wing, beating two defenders in the process, but both conversions were missed to leave it 10-0.

Maldon fought back with an unconverted try on 22 minutes before East London flanker Nick Parrott extended the home advantage with another fine individual effort on 38 minutes.

Collecting the ball 30 metres out, Parrott spotted a gap in a static visiting defence and left backs trailing as he scored under the posts. Fly-half Ryan Billinghurst added the conversion to open up a 12-point lead at half time.

Inside centre Alexis Merle showed silky skills when he sidestepped two tackles on 58 minutes to score the home side’s bonus point try, which Billinghurst also converted.

Merle added his second try of the afternoon four minutes later, but the conversion was missed.

East London, with the win in the bag, relaxed in the final quarter and let Maldon in for two tries in the space of three minutes and another with the final move of the game.

Two of the tries were converted, allowing the visitors to pick up a losing bonus point, but East London claimed the win and will look to end 2017 on a high when they make the short trip to neighbours Millwall this weekend.

Meanwhile, second-placed Millwall claimed their seventh league win in succession and eighth overall in nine outings, but were made to work hard for the 22-19 success by an improving Campion outfit.

Millwall’s only loss so far this campaign came in their earlier derby meeting with East London in September, which ended in a 28-27 win for the home side.

East London: Coman; Ames-Reddin; Park; Yiannakou; Schofield; Parrott; Brown; Bracken; Kelly; Billinghurst; O’Brien; Merle; Exley; Sauzier; Cooper. Replacements: Beattie; Samuel; O’Donoghue.

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