A FREAK injury to a referee led to a nail-biting encounter between rivals Bancroft and Wanstead being called off after just 46 minutes.

The official was forced to postpone the game after he tore his hamstring with the scores finely-balanced, Wanstead narrowly leading 24-22 following a rousing fightback from the home side.

Chris Grant had got the Bs off to a flier after just five minutes with an excellent solo try.

But the visitors quickly showed why they are challenging for promotion this season by dominating the next 25 minutes, running in four unanswered tries in that time to take a stranglehold on the contest.

Bancroft, rising to the occasion, belied their lowly league position to haul themselves back in to contention with two flowing moves that led to tries.

Stuart Beattie and Glenn Adams touched down out wide, and when a penalty sailed between the posts just after the break it was game on.

However, nobody could account for the misfortune of the referee, and an alternative date will now be set for the fixture.

Bancroft player Russell Thame was made captain for the game, which was his last before migrating to Australia.

Elsewhere, in London One North, Chingford surrendered more ground in the battle for promotion with an away defeat to fellow high-fliers Colchester.

With runaway leaders Westcliff having all but sewn up the title, it is left for Chingford to slug it out for the one remaining play-off spot, currently occupied by Sidcup, who now hold a four point advantage over the Waltham Wayers.

Colchester drew first blood with a penalty, but Ollie Hoad, the perpetrator, made amends immediately, crashing over for a try, with Duncan Hayward converting.

The hosts hit back with a penalty to move within a point at the break.

Hayward did manage to extend the lead with three more points, but petulance from the visitors cost them another and a player, as Luke Campbell was sin-binned.

Colchester surged forward and a penalty and a try saw them triumph.

Meanwhile, Eton Manor’s relegation fears were eased with a convincing 18-3 win over mid-table Ruislip.

They now trail rivals Woodford by just three points, after the Highams men went down at Old Colfeians 22-17.

In Essex Two, Upper Clapton’s clasp on the division tightened with a 36-6 win at Burnham-on-Crouch.