Epping Upper Clapton’s London 2 North East season kicked off with a 41-12 defeat away at Stowmarket.

Cam Furlong and Nick Conway were the try scorers for Epping, while George Douglass adding a conversion to the latter of the two, but Stowmarket were out of sight when both of the scores came in for the visitors.

Stowmarket were quick out of the blocks and, with Clapton failing to gain any continuity due to a host of injuries and team debuts, the hosts’ wingers both crossed early on after some strong passages of play.

Although Clapton’s first line of defence was constantly being challenged, they got the positive reaction they wanted when Furlong crossed for an unconverted try.

Unfortunately though, this was met be a strong response from the hosts, and two quick tries gave a half-time score of 26-5 in Stowmarket’s favour.

Clapton looked to regroup at half-time and aimed to put in a performance that showed their ability in this league, but Stowmarket really began to show their strength in the second half.

They notched up a further 15 points courtesy of three five-point scores to put them firmly in the ascendency and effectively consign Epping to defeat.

However, that ability that the away side will have wanted to show still made an appearance in the second half, and they produced a far more positive display after the break that showed their commitment to the cause.

Conway managed to cross for the visitors after an extended spell of pressure to give them something to show for their second half efforts, while Douglass’ conversion made sure to give them the full seven points from the try.

They were still far off the pace by the time the referee drew the game to an end, but Epping will hope to put all of the positive aspects of the performance into this Saturday’s home match against third-placed Diss.