THAMES thought they had a chance when Brightlingsea turned up with only 14 players.
But Brightlingsea’s superior scrum and line-out play established a superiority that they maintained throughout the afternoon.
Poor decision making and handling errors by both sides characterized an error-strewn first half which ended with Thames 7-5 behind.
Brightlingsea took the lead through winger Adam Farrow. Thames, however, were soon on level terms when Brightlingsea – having spurned several opportunities to clear their lines – conceded a converted try just before half-time.
They increased their lead with a penalty shortly after the break.
But the rest of the half largely belonged to a much-improved Brightlingsea.
The visitors were restricted to two Owen Palmer penalties but it seemed only a matter of time before they would capitalize on one of their breaks.
The try duly came when skipper Karim Touzni got through.
The score seemed to galvanize Thames who, having charged down Owen Palmer’s conversion, drove up the field and capped off a period of pressure with a converted try that, with the clock running down, looked to have secured them the points. With less than five minutes left Brightlingsea forced a line-out on the opposition five-metre line.
George Stott hit his jumper and from the resulting driving maul, Luke Gould touched down.
The cap was put on proceedings when flanker Tom Mowle, supported by George Stott, broke through the middle of the Thames defence and spun the ball wide to Sam Day to race over.