RUGBY: THURROCK’s lacklustre National Three (London South East) season did not improve at the weekend.

Thurrock’s men went down 33-23 to Basingstoke in a belated start to the New Year.

The T’s first home fixture of the year was cancelled due to the deluge and the rain also meant that this week’s game was moved from the main pitch to the pitch furthest away from the clubhouse – which was in good condition. Thurrock new coach David Mobbs-Smith started his tenure presiding over his new charges.

But with only nine minutes gone Thurrock trailed 10-0 to a converted try and a penalty. However, a spirited home team fight back ensued with a tries from Jake Barrand quickly followed with Earl Gorman crashing over to draw the sides level.

Frankie Neale just missed with both conversions. Thurrock conceded a penalty which Basingstoke gratefully accepted and sneaked into the lead.

However, James Flavin squirmed his way over close to the posts after some great forward momentum and this time Neale added the extras to take the lead for the first time. The advantage, however, did not last to half time.

Thurrock were reduced to 14 men when Billy Ellis was yellow carded and the visitors made the most of having the extra man as they scored a converted try right on the stroke of half time, to lead at the break.

Despite the scoreline being at 20-17, the second half did not continue in the same manner as the first. And the battle became a more turgid affair. Basingstoke quickly added a converted try to extend their lead, but two Frankie Neale penalties kept Thurrock in the hunt. Thurrock thought that they had a chance, but their hopes were dashed when two late penalties took the game away from T’s.

Thurrock: Neale, Farrell, Skelton, Gorman, Barrand, Meek(Sillivan40m) Titterton, Brunger, Durrance, Bevans-Royston, Banks, Ellis (Loka), Crowhuest (Keefe),Flavin, Cooper-Hicks.

l THURROCK travel to Guernsey. Kick off will be at 2.30pm.