Date: Sun 26th Feb 2017
Bancroft U14s 17-22 Harlow U14s
The Harlow U14s visited Bancroft RFC this week. With the sun out and a brief reprieve in the wind; conditions were good for kick-off. The Bancroft side were light on numbers this week so Harlow players Mitchell Miller and Tom Joseph filled in the gaps for the home side in the first half. Zak Moroney and Matthew Brough taking the mantle in the second.
A Harlow kick-off gave Bancroft their first taste of possession for the game. Unfortunately, Bancroft were not to be left wanting for control of the ball in this fixture. With confident runners in the home side’s back-line; the entire first half became a test of the tackling ability of the visitors. Never ones to shy from a challenge Harlow responded in force. Dominant tackles from flanker Ollie Faber and centre Brad Matthews, set the example, keeping Bancroft far from the try line. The Harlow side took notice and followed up with strong tackling from all involved. The pressure from Bancroft, however, would inevitably lead to points. With the Harlow side exhausting all energy in covering tackles; a strong Bancroft scrum saw an opportunity for a quick pick-and-go leading to Bancroft’s first score of the day. The home side leading 5-0. Harlow began to feel the pressure, strong scrummaging and dominant rucking saw Harlow with barely a single touch of the ball for the remainder of the half. Despite the inability to regain possession, Harlow proved that they should not be ignored on the defensive front. The first half ended with the score remaining at 5-0 to the home side.
The half time team talk gave the young Rams the opportunity to express their issues with the first half performance. The unanimous opinion being; ‘ we’re better than this’. The next twenty-five minutes proved that opinion to be fact.
The opening gambit of the second half almost threatened to be a repeat of the first. With Bancroft chasing a strong kick off and regaining possession deep in the Harlow half. In a stark contrast to the first half, however, the Harlow side dominated the resulting rucks. The renewed vigour in the visiting team forced the home side to recycle the ball quickly. A quick snipe from the back of a ruck saw a Bancroft player in a competition for possession with, newly crowned winger, Ervins Bukejs. Bukejs’ refusal to release his grip of the ball, allowed him to rip possession and storm down the wing to eventually be tackled at the 22 metre line. Jakub Frankowski took control of the ball to carry the momentum forward; the entire way to the Bancroft try-line. Angelo Blasi secured the extra points to bring the score to 5-7.
From this point forward it seemed every time Harlow regained possession of the ball, points were to follow. A break from prop Tyrone Kangwende saw space open up deep in the Bancroft side of the pitch. A short offload from Kangwende to centre Louie Lynch and an injection of pace secured the next try of the game. Bancroft managed to respond in kind with points of their own bringing the score line to 10-12.
Harlow continued to prove what they can achieve with ball in hand. The next visiting try came from a moment of magic by Lynch. A strong positive carry saw four defenders clawing to bring him down. The centre held on for 20 yards to draw in more and more Bancroft players and eventually gave a perfectly timed offload to a waiting Blasi. The efforts by Lynch left the Harlow side with a comfortable 4-on-1 situation, which allowed Blasi to glide over the try line. The score brought to 10-17.
Bukejs was the next Harlow player to secure points. A strong tackle from Nathan Hunt in the Bancroft half gave the opportunity for a turnover. Dominant counter rucking from Jamie Gaunt and Nathan Dennis gave Harlow possession of the ball. The flanker-turned-winger, Bukejs, then received the ball from a phase of great handling to dart over the try-line. The score now 10-22.
Bancroft proved they were not ones to shy from a challenge. A penalty five metres from the Harlow line gave the opportunity for a Bancroft winger to aim for the corner and put the ball down over the line. The final whistle blew, leaving the final score at 17-22 to Harlow.
1. Tyrone Kangwende, 2. Nathan Dennis, 3. Daniel Porter, 4. Nathan Hunt, 5. Suleiman Mohammed, 6. Jamie Gaunt, 7. Ollie Faber, 8. Jakub Frankowski, 9. Jude Clark, 10. Angelo Blasi, 11. Matthew Brough, 12. Louie Lynch, 13. Bradley Matthews, 14. Zak Moroney, 15. Tommy Johnston, 16. Luke Cheetham, 17. Ervins Bukejs, 18. Tom Joseph, 19. Mitchell Miller,
Tries: Blasi, Bukejs, Frankowski, Lynch
Men of the Match: Faber (Forward), Bukejs (Back)