Date: Sun 30th Oct 2022
We travelled to Upminster on Sunday to play a friendly against a team who were keen to get the game going. This week we played two straight halves for the first time for a while.
With twelve players unavailable, six players injured, three who didn’t confirm their attendance or not, we need to increase the communication. Coaches and parents are often available to offer lifts to anyone struggling to get to away games. It is important to enable us to grow we have as many players available to play as possible. We can then build week on week. This week we once more had left a team at a bit at home! As we come to play some home games in the coming weeks, we will have to make some selection choices limiting the size of the match day squad to ensure those in the included all get half a game. There will be a temptation to select those who are available for both home and away games.
This week was a damp one the rain fortunately stopped just in time for kick off. We played with uncontested scrums because both teams had a lack of experienced front row players. Theme for the day was desire getting to the ball first.
Upminster started strongly and with more urgency than Harlow showing they had more desire, and their work rate was higher than Harlow’s. Which showed at the break down where Upminster were winning the ball when Harlow carried and retaining it easily when they attacked.
From a turnover Upminster were able to move the ball wide to score their first converted try. 7-0. Next up the Harlow offended at the break down in an attempt to slow down the play. Upminster carried well up front and were over the line for a converted try from an exceptional kicker. 14-0.
Harlow were able to build a bit of pressure. From a line out driven well, Louis Fisher carried the and set up the second phase, pick and go from Grady Butler and then again from Daniel Wood who crossed the line. Rhys Eynon converted 14-7.
One more converted try from Upminster before half time from pick and go around the breakdown. 21-7.
A yellow card to an Upminster player for a high tackle saw them go down a player either side of half time.
Half time 21 – 7.
In the second half, Harlow needed work together and harder to get to the break down and pressurise Upminster when they have the ball to force mistakes.
Harlow appeared to have woken up and started to play the patterns we have practiced in training. From set move Owen Mills picked up at the base popping the ball inside to Daniel Wood who got close before the final part of the back row, Grady Butler touched down. Great back row try. Converted from wide out by Rhys Eynon 21-14.
Upminster constructed their own blind side back row move to score out wide and their kicker again slotted the kick. 28-14.
Harlow’s pressure on the Upminster attack resulted in a loose pass being intercepted by Owen Mills who ran in under the posts. Converted by Rhys Eynon 28-21.
From Harlow ill discipline in the middle of the pitch, Upminster showed they were less confident in retaining their lead and opted for a kick at goal. Interesting decision from Harlow to sing in an attempt to put off the kicker and the referee rightly awarded the penalty without the need to take the kick. Lesson learned by Harlow there. 31-21
From a move out wide Louis Fisher gather the pass and went on a mesmerising run around over and between players showing the class he has with the ball in hand. Converted by Rhys Eynon 31-28 and all to play for.
Upminster were given a second yellow card for a high tackle, but this didn’t stop Upminster attacking the blind side from scrum and scoring on the touch line. 36-28.
Harlow were not giving up on this game and continued to play some up-tempo rugby. Upminster were ill disciplined and gave away a series of penalties as Harlow worked up the pitch. From a final penalty Owen Mills crashed over to score, Rhys Eynon adding the extras to make it a one-point game at the death in Upminster’s favour. 36-35.
Final Score 36 – 35
Special mentions to Louis Kasket great work rate today. Oscar Fulk for showing that when we play positively great things happen. Leo Johnson and Harry Shaw for stepping up to fill in way out of position in the second row, the shortest second rows in history! Jacob Kearney for playing our of position at prop. Louis Fisher for playing controlled but on the edge and positively raising his game and a blistering try. Rhys Eynon, 100% off the tee today keeping us in touch with Upminster throughout the game.
Donkey of the match Jessie Collins for his rendition of YMCA in an attempt to put of the penalty taker and was rightly penalised.
Tries: Daniel Wood, Grady Butler, Owen Mills (2), Louis Fisher
Conversions: Rhys Eynon (5)
Penalties: Not this week
1. Jacob Kearney, 2. Daniel Rolfe-Doyle 3. Oscar Fulk, 4. Leo Johnson (Sub Harry Shaw), 5. Louis Fisher, 6. Grady Butler (c), 7. Daniel Wood, 8. Owen Mills, 9. Adam Leamon, 10. Rhys Eynon, 11. Jason Webb, 12. Louis Fisher, 13. Jessie Collins, 14. Jayden Kempthorne Harris (Sub Tam Ajibabi), 15. Eduard Turcu.
Back row superstars continue to lead the try scoring tables showing that the extra strength and conditioning work they are doing in the gym is paying off allowing them to steal the ball and get in support of the team.