Date: Sat 24th Sep 2022
Seven tries and a faultless display from the conversion tee by fly half Danny Smith allowed Harlow to leave near neighbours Epping Upper Clapton with five points in the bag. During a gritty encounter as befitting a local derby, both sides gave a committed display, and whilst by no means having the game all their own way, Harlow’s passing and support play got them the win 10-49.
Harlow started the game playing into a stiff wind, which made clearing kick’s difficult, but they did not allow this to derail them as after only a couple of minutes in number 8 Dave Archer broke from the back of a midfield scrum, and with a little sleight of hand wrong footing the defence he powered toward Epping’s twenty two, Ben Creasey who had tracked the break well accepted the inside pass and the scrum half ran in under the uprights.
Harlow then had to stand up strongly to a barrage of pressure from Epping’s forwards who led admirably by flanker Connor Reynolds, continuously carried into contact but were repulsed by some big tackles, with the engine room of Elston and Morrisey to the fore. With the red wall intact Harlow eventually cleared their lines and from a set piece near to Epping’s line they scored again. Hooker Mikey Lyons accurately found Archer with a middle ball and with the resulting maul gaining increasing momentum Lyons emerged with the ball to punch through and score.
Epping responded again but their graft was not rewarded, as Harlow turned the ball over deep in their own half, Elston began the breakout, before allowing winger Drake to aggressively make 30 metres or more before being dragged down, again good support play saw Creasey in for the score.
Harlow’s final score of the half was in the same vein, this time it was right wing Harry Masini who was released down the wing, and his pacy run into the hosts half allowed Harlow to get front foot ball, and good handling from phase play across the pitch found skipper Luke Bowering who powered over for the five points.
As if to emphasise that they were not going to go quietly Epping rounded off the scoring in the half when a close quarter pick and go got them over the chalk for an unconverted try. H.T. 5-28
With the wind at their backs the Men in red took a while to adjust to its variability as a couple of errant kicks went out on the full, but once adjusted they found themselves in the home sides red zone with a penalty awarded, Archer sensing the opportunity tapped quickly and fed Bowering who with quick feet danced over for his second try of the day.
Debutant Louis Castiglione was next on the score sheet as from a ruck some 10 metres out, Creasey found the prop on a trademark run which took him and would be tacklers over the line for his try.
With the match nearing its conclusion, Harlow scored their seventh and final try of the day, again finding themselves raiding the Epping twenty two a delicious Rob Macpherson Smith inside ball was gratefully accepted by replacement Alfie Clark, as he raced toward to the line with options either side he unselfishly off loaded to Rick Hobbs who nipped in for the score.
As they did in the first half Epping finished the game with last score which their continued effort merited.
Good result for the Latton Park side, in a local derby where the form book can sometimes be ripped up and chucked, they maintained composure and displayed admirable resolve to not wilt under the pressure whilst demonstrating a passing game that is a good to watch.