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South London overcame a brave Essex side on Saturday to record a win in the first club trial of the season, 20 points to 18.
The match was played on a very boggy pitch, which affected both sides ability to move the ball.
The Storm opened the scoring with an unconverted try in the 10th minute with a great piece of opportunism from half Andrew Jackson who kicked into the in-goal, and got to the ball ahead of the Eel's fullback. 7 minutes later winger Ricky Davey finished off a good backline move and a great pass from Tani Kingi by outpacing the cover defence to score and put the Storm up 8-0. But Essex hit back right on quarter time with a burrowing try from dummy-half for 8-6.
Essex followed up with similar tries from close range in the 28th and 46th minutes to hold a deserved 18-8 lead heading into three-quarter time before another backline move put Carlos Zacharow away for a convertd try under the posts and left the Storm trailing by just 4 points.
The match was won by yet another backline move creating an overlap and winger Cormack Lindsay outpaced everybody in a 50 metre run to score under the posts in the 75 mnute - when Louis Neethling added the extras, the Storm held on to win 20-18.
Essex put on a brave defensive effort throughout, halting a number of Storm raids and showing they'll be an improved side in 2005. They head to Holland next for a match against a South of Holland rep side.
For the Storm, this was a valuable hit-out with the club beginning to get a number of combinations started for the regular season. 27 players took part, including 7 new to the club this year.
Coach Rob Powell commented "This was an extremely valuable exercise in the club's preparation for this season - we're applying what we're working on in training and the guys are enjoying playing and training as a club. Already we've had a few players shine in the pre season that will be playing a lot of firsts this season."
Standouts for the match included Louis Neethling(who played the full 80 minutes), the halves combination of Jackson and John Ferguson and powerful running from Tani Kingi. The man of the match though was new signing Mick Walker, who played lock and stand-off and set up a number of breaks with his offloads - one to watch this year.
The club is hoping to hold 4 more trial matches before the RLC Premier and RLC kick off on May 7th - keep an eye on the message boards for fixture updates.