Braintree Rugby Club were pleased to get 2014 off to a winning start as they won their Essex derby against Basildon, but they made harder work of it than they perhaps would have liked.

The Black and Ambers surged into a 24-0 lead in the London League division two north east clash at Robbs Wood, before the south Essex visitors cut the deficit to seven points, but a late penalty made it safe for Braintree in the end as they won 27-17.

And with Braintree still waiting for their first away win of the campaign, it was another welcome points haul on home turf.

Braintree chairman of selectors, Jeff Lewis, said: “It was vital we started the year with a win and I was delighted we achieved one. Our scrum was on top all game and once we had our noses so far in front just after half-time we should have cruised it.

“But we went to sleep and allowed Basildon to come back into the game.

“I couldn't quite see how we had let them get back into it so quickly, but luckily we held on.”

Braintree are due to host South Woodham Ferrers at Robbs Wood on Saturday (kick-off 2pm).