WOODFORD have started the London One North rugby season in flying fashion, grinding out two valuable wins in their opening games.

The Highams Park men began the 2010/11 campaign with a battling 21-18 victory over Ruislip, before edging out Brentwood by two points in a 25-23 thriller on Saturday.

The team showed plenty of the mettle that they hope will carry them to promotion this season in both games.

Woodford also managed to pick up four bonus points over the matches thanks to their impressive scoring record, in new rules introduced by the league.

The victories mean Woodford sit alongside three other teams at the top of London One North, ahead of a mouthwatering local derby clash against Chingford next weekend.

Elsewhere, Chingford's second match of the season against Ruislip on Saturday was postponed. The Waltham Wayers had already suffered an opening day defeat to early frontrunners Westcliff, going down 18-13 at home.

However, the team will be eager to put in to practice some of the things they learned from an England rugby legend's recent visit to the club when they take on Woodford this week.

Ex-Three Lions prop Jason Leonard, who made 114 appearances for his country, ran a series of drills with Chingford's players during the masterclass session, and coach Phil Howell will be hoping his troops have heeded some of that advice.

Meanwhile, in the same division Eton Manor played out a 12-12 draw with new arrivals Old Colfeians on Saturday. The draw saw the New Wilderness men get off the mark after previously losing 24-10 to Colchester.

In London Three North East, newly-promoted Bancroft almost got off the mark at the first time of asking but ended up slipping to a narrow 26-24 loss at Mersea Island.

The hosts got off to a flier, streaking into a 11-0 lead, but the Bs bounced back to lead at half-time through tries from James Connor and Neil Humphires, with Ben Ryall nailing one conversion.

Some ill-discipline saw Bancroft collect two yellow cards and Mersea too advantage with three more tries in the second period. Pete Robinson and Connor did manage to cross the line but it was not quite enough for the visitors.

In the same division, Wanstead kicked off with a 23-6 win over Norwich, while in Essex Two, Loughton's match with Stanford Le Hope was postponed, although Ilford Wanderers did see off the challenge of Burnham-on-Crouch, 17-6.