Dagenham battled to a 29-20 win at third-placed Wanstead to take all five points on offer in their Counties One Essex encounter.

On a bitterly cold day, the opening exchanges were tense as Wanstead continually looked to try to find territorial advantage through the boot, using the prevailing wind, and the Dagenham back three proved up to the challenge and made inroads on the counter.

Wanstead opened the scoring with a penalty from wide on the left but Dagenham’s forward pack began to assert their dominance in the scrum and through their tight carrying, earning a number of penalties.

The pressure eventually told with a series of driving mauls from the lineout being rewarded with a penalty try after repeated infringements from Wanstead on their line.

And it wasn’t long before Dagenham were able to extend their lead, with the lineout again providing the platform for a powerful maul drive, as after a couple of hard carries Mitchell Sinfield was able to break through for a try, converted by Frankie Neale, for a 14-3 lead at half-time.

With the wind at their backs after the restart, it was Dagenham’s turn to press the advantage, with Neale kicking them deep into Wanstead territory.

Sinfield showed great agility to find a gap and go close, before Tommy Cameron picked the perfect miss-pass to put Jordan Calverley in for the try on the wing.

Trailing 19-3, Wanstead rallied and began to apply pressure of their own, working their way down the field through a series of penalties as their forwards battered away at the Dagenham defence until squeezing over the line.

Dagenham redoubled their effort in attack and were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts, which Neale duly slotted over.

And after being awarded another penalty inside their own half, Dagenham saw scrum-half and man-of-the-match Josh Cook take a quick tap to catch the Wanstead defence off guard, before his pass sent captain Nathanial Farrell racing clear of the remaining cover to score under the posts.

Wanstead refused to go down without a fight, though, and reduced the deficit with a carbon-copy of their first try, this time converted.

Some continued ill-discipline from Dagenham saw them stuck in their own half for much of the rest of the game, but their defence continued to hold out well until Wanstead scored again through a series of close-range carries.

Dagenham managed the final phases of the game well to take the win and deny Wanstead a losing-bonus point as they move through the halfway point of the season, keen to continue their form when they host Old Cooperians at Central Park on Saturday.