IT WOULD have been the worst possible start to the new year if Streatham-Croydon had not scored in the final minutes of the second half to secure a fourth-try bonus point.
Even then, it was a performance that suffered from a first half malaise which may have significantly dented Streatham's promotional aspirations.
The first half began poorly for the home side and became progressively worse at its close. From the kick-off, Old Emanuel forced a mistake from Streatham at the breakdown, which ended with the team who are currently second-from-bottom in Surrey Two grabbing the game's first try.
Streatham retaliated promptly with a penalty from the boot of winger Aaron Brown but this was not the catalyst which many hoped it would be.
While they enjoyed vast amounts of possession and territory, the home side lacked a clinical edge.
Numerous forays into the opposition 22 following strong running from Streatham forwards failed to herald points.
And this problem was further compounded by Old Emanuel, who seemed to have the very quality which Streatham lacked.
Their three tries in the first half were, in truth, their only incursions into the home side's 22, but this mattered little as they made the most of their opportunities.
The second half did not follow the same narrative with Streatham-Croydon managing to take the chances presented to them. Additions to the backs and forwards and a juggling of the backline meant tries for prop Damion Darlington, Walter Pretorius and Mike Jackson.
Jackon's effort in particular was a wonderful team effort, with both fleet of foot and quick handling allowing him to dive in at the corner.
While improving significantly with ball-in-hand, defensive frailties still reared their ugly head, as each time Streatham made ground on the visitors, any hope was quickly punctured by further Old Emanuel scores.
Other results in Surrey Two went some way in lifting the despondency after the final whistle.
With Battersea Ironsides drawing against Old Tonbridgians, Streatham are still within touching distance of a promotion spot. However, their performances must improve if they want to secure a third promotion in three years.