Epping Upper Clapton are still without a win so far in the London 2 North East season after a 29-17 defeat at fellow strugglers Romford & Gidea Park.

Tries from James Hack, Dave Allen and Jon Robinson had the visitors 17-14 in front at the break but Romford stormed back in the second half to pick up their third win of the campaign.

After less than a minute, a mis-placed Clapton clearance presented Romford with possession and they ran in from just inside their own half.

Five minutes later, the hosts had their second try when another loose pass fell to them, and once more they capitalised.

Then, though, Clapton started to show some of the character that has been missing so far this season.

Two quick tries following Romford’s second, firstly as Hack crossed from out wide and then Allen was awarded enough space to touch down a second, which was converted by George Dagless.

Clapton were now on a roll, and miraculously they took the lead before the referee could blow for half time as Robinson went over from close range to put his side 17-14 in front.

The visitors continued to push forward in the remaining minutes of the half, but they were unable to add any further to their score.

Romford came out for the second half with a renewed energy and they soon edged ahead again with a converted try that took their tally to 21.

A penalty goal and a further try, which handed them the bonus point, sealed the deal for the hosts, who moved above second-bottom Holt courtesy of the win.

Next up for Clapton is their final match of 2019, which sees them host mid-table South Woodham Ferrers this coming Saturday.

Meanwhile, Epping Ladies continue to impress despite defeat, with their third ever game ending in a 24-15 reverse at home to Wallingford Ladies.

It was a tough game for Epping against a side that are further along in their development as a team and their experience told in the end.

Wallingford raced into a 17-0 half-time lead, leaving Epping with a huge challenge in the second half.

Sophie Hurley, though, laid on tries for Victoria Parris and Nina Honey to cut the deficit to 14.

A minor lapse in concentration allowed Wallingford to edge further ahead again, but Gemma Howard’s late try reduced the arrears to 24-15 to seal a respectable defeat.