UPPER Clapton have become only the third team in the country to gain promotion at this early stage of the season after the local side stormed to the Essex Two title.

The Loughton-based club have won every one of their 14 league games, racking up a remarkable 70 points, 19 clear of their nearest rivals.

The crowning glory came on Saturday with a crushing 56-0 victory over Phantoms. Played on a layer of water, Upper Clapton ran in a remarkable ten tries, the first coming from 17-year-old Cameron Furlong.

Clinton Dorling and Winkworth ran in two further scores, with the former also notching a second.

There was a brace of tries for Tom Roberts and Ross Stalley, while Furlong also bagged a second.

The title triumph is made all the more special, given the club withdrew from league rugby last season, only to return fitter, hungrier and younger to bulldoze all in their path.

Meanwhile, Eton Manor gained revenge over Woodford for defeat earlier this season by coming out on top in their close rivals’ back yard.

On a quagmire of a pitch, Manor dug deep and emerged from the mud victors in this London One North encounter by five points, 20-15.

The win was built on the magnificent work of the visiting forwards, but an early storm had to be weathered before Garth Tucker drove over the line for the opening score from Manor.

Woodford responded with heavy pressure, but minutes before the break the away side struck again.

Tryson Goodschild’s bone-shuddering tackle created the chance for Reece Reid to feed Nick Horton, who galloped forward and unloaded to Chris Jones to cross the line.

A converted try from the hosts after the interval reduced the deficit, but McKie responded with a penalty.

A missed touch kick from Manor allowed Woodford to score their second try, which was converted, taking the gap back to three points. But Manor stretched ahead once again through Tucker’s try.

A Woodford penalty gave the home side a sniff but Manor held on for a derby day win that pushes them up in to mid-table.

In similarly treacherous conditions, Chingford’s promotion hopes suffered a potentially fatal blow as Old Colfeians triumphed 17-10 at their Waltham Way ground.

A swift counter-attack gave the visitors the first try, but Luke Campbell levelled after capitalising on a fumble, Duncan Hayward converting.

Colfeians regained their seven-point lead with their second score, although Hayward’s penalty brought the hosts to within three.

With the players weighed down by the mud the referee brought a halt to proceedings with Old Colfeians seven points ahead.

Meanwhile, in London Three North East, Bancroft’s survival chances were boosted by a terrific 13-0 win over South Woodham Ferrers in a result that avenged a last-gasp defeat earlier in the season.

Ricardo Duberry crossed for the only try of the game, with Adam Capon converting. He slotted home again before the break from a penalty and, after Bancroft were forced to hold on with 13 men through a sin bin and an injury, another three points secured the victory.

Elsewhere, Wanstead were defeated at home by Newmarket 22-15.

In Essex Two, Ilford Wanderers were 22-0 winners at Runwell.