WANSTEAD remain chomping at the heels of London Three North East leaders Newmarket after being made to work hard for a victory over local rivals Bancroft at the weekend.

In a high-octane clash, it was Bancroft that flew out of traps fastest, as they belied their modest league position.

James Conner rocked the home side with an early try, although Wanstead hit back with one of their own five minutes later.

Against the odds, it was the Bs that re-took the lead, Mat Henry drawing his man and releasing Sam Hodgson for an impressive try.

The momentum was to swing once again, though, and Wanstead made it half-time with their noses in front after two further tries.

The game looked up when the hosts ran in their fourth try of the afternoon, Jonny Smith in particular standing out with a brace.

But Bancroft were not about to go down without a fight, and Jordan Wigham touched down for his first try for the club.

The visitors were on a roll and Ricardo Dubbery also recorded his maiden try for the club after running the length of the field and beating four players.

That brought the Bs within seven points of Wanstead, but despite laying siege to the home side's line, forcing seven penalties and seeing two home players yellow-carded, they were unable to break them down again for the all-important score.

The team did pick up two losing bonus points for their efforts, while Wanstead took maximum points for the win.

Upper Clapton, meanwhile, made it five wins from five in Essex Two with a 54-10 demolition job on Burnham-on-Crouch, a result that takes them closer to the division's summit.

Clapton are just one point behind leaders Writtle Wanderers but have a game in hand and, judging by their recent form, it will not be long before they find themselves leading the way.

The game almost became the Matt Thompson show, who ran in four tries and slotted seven conversions for a personal haul of 34 points; a total that more than tripled the combined effort of their opponents.

The rest of the tries came from Clinton Dorling, Mike Tindall, Lee Garwood and Tom Roberts.

In the same division, Ongar were well-beaten by May & Baker, 52-17.