WHILE a result elsewhere hit Braintree Rugby Club's hopes of London League division three Essex promotion, the Black and Ambers kept their side of the bargain up with a nine-try 57-5 demolition of Barking.

Alongside their own success, Braintree had been hoping for a defeat for East London - by leaders Epping Upper Clapton - that would allow them to draw closer to the second-placed side, but only one of the two results went their way.

It has left promotion hopes looking slim, but chairman of selectors David Gilder hopes a strong finish in the last two games, starting with Saturday's trip to Maldon, will still ensure a top-three spot.

Gilder said: “It was a really good team performance (against Barking) to continue our strong run-in to the end of the season.

“Although we were hoping East London might lose to the leaders the victory keeps us in third place, pressuring them as much as we can.

“Barking had to travel with a depleted squad and were under pressure for much of the game, but stuck to the task well and competed to the very end.

“From early it was obvious they hoped to make use of their big forwards, but they were thwarted from the off with successive carries being driven back from the gain line.

“Our set plays worked well for us with dominance in the scrums against a much bigger pack and good line-out ball.

“This is a very young side that is improving and strengthening week on week.

"We now want to push hard in the last two games to consolidate at least a third place finish.”

Braintree head coach Jamie Clarke added: “It was a clinical team performance and we played some really entertaining rugby.

“Our youngsters continue to improve with every game and that is very encouraging for the future of the club.

“We are having a very strong finish to the season and we need to take that winning form into our last two games to ensure we finish above our local rivals Chelmsford.”

East London’s win over the leaders kept them six points ahead of third-placed Braintree and unless they slip up in this weekend’s clash with King’s Cross Steelers, the Black and Ambers' visit to Maldon looks all but a formality.