By Ben Alsop
It seemed to take an age but eventually Streatham-Croydon remembered how to play effective rugby and ran out relatively comfortable 24-8 winners against Surrey Division Two’s bottom side Worth Old Boys.
Second-half tries from Conor Kelly, Vinny Auguiste and Maika Baleilovu (two), as well as two Kai Cassemis conversions, overturned an 8-0 deficit to keep alive any promotion hopes.
Streatham, in fourth, are eight points off the top and five points off second place with five games to go.
Top club Chipstead, with just one defeat all season and now with a game in hand after the weekend's clash with Battersea Ironsides was postponed, play host to Streatham on Saturday.
The lack of any meaningful preparation due to inclement weather showed as both teams punctuated the opening exchanges with mistakes and imprecision.
First blood was drawn by the away side with a well-struck penalty dissecting the posts. The visitors went one step further with an unconverted try, but there efforts were the only true incursions made by Worth in the first half.
However, for all their territorial supremacy Streatham found it increasingly difficult to make their superiority tell.
A lack of precision when opportunities presented themselves led to a fractious first period with the home side becoming increasingly aware that a loss would act as a final nail in the coffin of their promotional aspirations.
A second half performance which saw the home side secure the victory and a vital bonus point allied any such fears and would have greatly pleased both coaches and supporters alike.
From the opening tussles it was clear that Streatham-Croydon had a renewed purpose, running with greater depth and support into the contact area.
Well recycled ball and quick hands saw the opening score by Kelly, whose tackling and running had been a significant bright point during the first period.
This was followed by the try of the game as winger Auguiste crashed over in the right corner after numerous carries from the Streatham pack, promptly recycled possession led to an overlap and the tide had turned.
The final two scores of the game owed much to the persistence and ingenuity of the home side’s flanker Baleilovu.
His first saw him touch down by the post after a foot race following a host of calamitous events in the Old Boys half.
His second and Streatham’s final try of the game came after a ball had shot out of a defensive scrum, the Fijian flanker reacting first to pounce and ensure the coveted bonus point.