BANCROFT will be playing London Three North East rugby next season after coming through a high-scoring ding-dong play-off battle with Stowmarket at the weekend.

The Bs had earned the right to fight for promotion after an outstanding winning streak of 13 games saw them secure second spot in Essex One.

And despite a final day defeat at the hands of league champions Campion, Bancroft bounced back in style, blitzing Stowmarket with a flurry of first-half tries before staving off an impressive fightback to cement their place alongside Wanstead in London’s third tier.

The two sides produced a pulsating contest worthy of the occasion.

Tom Farrow charged down an attempted clearance, collected the ball and sprinted home before composing himself to slot the resulting conversion between the posts for the first score.

An unerring ability to turn up the heat when it matters has characterised the Bs’ season, and they cranked the temperature up several notches on Saturday, racing into a huge lead thanks to a scintillating period of rugby.

First, Charl Dormehl was the grateful beneficiary of Matt Barrett’s pass, rounding the midfield to take the score to 12-0. Farrow arrowed a penalty over before Pete Robinson and James Connor combined for try number three, the latter touching down after easing his way past a bemused defence.

A classy offload from Robinson created the chance for Dormehl to grab his second score of the day and, at that point, the game looked up.

However, Stowmarket responded, their fly half the architect of a run of three tries which was punctuated by a single Farrow penalty, leaving the half-time score 30-21 in Bancroft’s favour.

Another try immediately after the interval rattled Bancroft, but they quickly rallied and restored their healthy lead when Dormehl set up Connor for his second try, with Farrow adding the extras.

A couple of sin bins for the Bs added to the tension, but they held out, kicking away any danger to run down the clock and finish their season with the desired flourish.

Team coach Stephen Baker said of the achievement: “The players were magnificent and frustrating in equal measure on the day, but it was their team spirit that saw them through and that has been their strength all year.”