Epping Upper Clapton remain rooted to the bottom of London 2 North East after a 24-15 defeat away at fellow strugglers Holt.

James Hack, Luke Neat and Lucas Moretta were the try-scorers for Clapton, but sloppy defending at key moments allowed Holt to score far too often.

Defeat leaves Clapton eight points shy of Holt at the bottom of the table, with just a solitary bonus point to their name from the opening six fixtures.

As with those previous matches, they got off to another poor start in North Norfolk as Clapton conceded twice in the first quarter of the game.

Holt firstly edged over after a quick tap penalty for a five-point score and they soon added a further seven when their winger rounded the defence on the outside to touch down.

Clapton’s scrum came back as a dominant force and was starting to have an effect on the game, allowing them to add their first points of the match when Hack was the beneficiary of some scrappy build-up play.

Reece Reed was unsuccessful with the conversion, and he also missed a couple of further penalty attempts before the half was out which would have closed the gap further.

The visitors were looking for a quick response after the break but got exactly the opposite as Holt scored a third.

Two quick tries followed for Clapton though as Neat and Moretta brought them to within two points of Holt at 17-15.

However, the visitors were unable to come back and Holt notched the final score of the game when the ball squirmed out from underneath a scrum and the number nine was the first to react before diving over the line.

With the Rugby World Cup final taking place this weekend, there is a free week for Clapton to refocus and look to get back to winning ways.

Their next fixture will be at Upland Road against mid-table side Saffron Walden on Saturday, November 9.