Date: Sat 26th Nov 2016
The Rams were back in action on Saturday, following a long three week break, for a friendly fixture at Chelmsford. Internationals, first team call-ups and injuries meant that on the day they stood fourteen strong but the hosts generously loaned The Rams a player to even up the contest.
The make-up of the two squads made it obvious what sort of gameplans were going to be employed; the quick wide game of The Rams against the power driven play of the home team.
The Rams started the game playing down the slope and initially seemed to have control of proceedings but the home team gradually began to impose their style of play and, when Harlow crossed for the first score it was perhaps to the neutral spectator, slightly against the run of play.
A long kick into the Chelmsford twenty-two bounced up nicely into the hands of the chasing Will Grimley who shrugged off the attentions of the home fullback to cross over for the first score of the day; 0-5.
Chelmsford replied almost immediately and, following a five metre lineout, set up a driving maul that the Harlow eight had no answer to, forcing their way over in the right-hand corner; 05-05.
Harlow came back strongly and following a period of strong driving play managed to utilise their pace men out wide. Quick hands along the line created the opening required for ‘Ram-for-the-day’ Chris Chelmsford, who out-stripped the covering defenders to touch down next to the right-hand upright; 05-10 and half-time.
Within five minutes of the restart The Rams found themselves down to thirteen following injuries to Chris Chelmsford and Jake Watts. The loss The Rams scrum-half was a telling blow as the home team exploited the space around two consecutive scrums to run in two quick scores.
Even with thirteen players on the pitch there were still gaps out wide once Harlow got the ball away from the heavy midfield traffic. Strong running from Joe Heeney and Ali Phillips created the opening and Dan Hockley was quick to seize the opportunity; 17-15.
The loss of Dan Evans brought Harlow down to twelve and the home team capitalised on their numerical superiority by running in two more converted scores; 31-15 but once again The Rams responded strongly and it was again out wide that the spaces were to be found. A second for Will Grimley saw him chased all the way to the line but just managing to stay ahead of his pursuers to touch down under the posts; 31-22.
This was closely followed by a second touchdown by Dan Hockley following a break down the right-hand touchdown from Phillips. Hockley received the pass just outside the twenty-two before chipping over the defence, gathering up the bouncing ball on the run and crashing over under the posts; 31-29.
It was all set up for a nail biting final few minutes but the glory ending was not to be as the Chelmsford defence held firm; final score 31-29.
After the long break this was a perfect contest for Harlow. A bruising, physical game that could have gone either way and a perfect warm-up for the upcoming Thurrock League fixture in a couple of weeks time.
Try: C. Chelmsford, W. Grimley (2), D. Hockley (2)
Con: C. Clark (2)
1. Eric Penney, 2. Dan Makepeace, 3. Danny Fitzgerald, 4. Dan Evans, 5. James Roberts, 6. Ashley Westall, 7. Dan McCarthy, 8. Ryan Clark, 9. Jake Watts, 10. Chay Clark,11. Joe Heeney, 12. Will Grimley, 13. Dan Hockley, 14. Chris Chelmsford, 15. Ali Phillips