Epping Upper Clapton relinquished yet another lead as they were beaten 28-23 at home by Saffron Walden in London North East 2.

Early tries from Luke Neat and Bobby Grace helped towards a 20-5 half-time lead, as did excellent kicking from Reece Reed with penalties and conversions, but the hosts capitulated in the second half as Walden recorded successive wins.

Constant rain ensured a slippery ball throughout the game allowed for short, sharp passing and it led to two early tries for the hosts as Neat and grace both went over in the early exchanges, with the extras added on by Reed on both occasions.

Reed added a couple of penalties before the half was out to put Clapton into what looked like an unassailable position, even when Walden pulled five points back before the interval with an unconverted try.

The lead was well deserved, with Grace’s excellent performance ably assisted by Neat and Lucas Moretta, while academy graduate Luke O’Rourke was enjoying a debut to remember.

All the hosts had to do was keep the same mentality and style going in the second half, but they were unable to do so and were suitably punished for it.

Walden were certainly asserting themselves more on the game but Clapton were guilty of many poor decisions and they regularly presented opportunities to their opponents, who took the initiative each time.

The visitors first grabbed a penalty, which was followed by a converted try, and a five-point try was next in quick succession as the visitors tied the game at 20-20 with only 10 minutes to go.

Momentum was most certainly with Walden, and they took the lead for the first time when the hosts conceded a penalty 10 metres from their line which was taken quickly with the tap and scored in the corner.

The conversion was missed, but an unconverted try sealed it for the away side, despite Clapton securing a losing bonus point through Reed’s penalty.

Next up for Clapton is mid-table Wymondham away from home this Saturday.