Date: Sun 6th Nov 2016

Time: 10.30am

Match Report

Despite being a bright and sunny day, a bitter south-westerly wind blew across Barking RFC on its way to the Thames Estuary. The meteorological conditions prompted both players and Parents to don extra layers as we all kept warm throughout the frenetic play of the morning. Although we were one of the visiting sides, we turned up in force and sported a field of no less than 20 players. Some pre-match discussion between the respective coaches gave rise to a unanimous running of a main game, alongside a smaller one on the adjacent pitch. This worked really well as it kept all the players rotating, warm and motivated for the duration. Paul Eynon fulfilled the usual referee duties, whilst Jason Pite, James Keys Kidd and myself provided coaching assistance.

Game 1 – Harlow vs. Barking

Starting line-up:

Joe (Captain), Corey, Toby ,Charlie, Jake, Teddy, Jacques, Dillon,Freddie

The first game of the day was kicked-off by Teddy at 10:30 on the dot. Both sides got stuck in and after just 38 seconds of play, we had our first scrum – put in by Dillon. Corey made his presence felt and we quickly retained possession and demonstrated some great passing along our disciplined line. Some really useful ground was gained by Teddy well into our opponents half, only for him to take a hard tackle into touch at 2 minutes 10. It’s fair to say that Barking were fielding some “substantial” players – not that this deterred Toby from executing a wonderful tackle against their biggest at 3 minutes 40. The tides then turned after 4 minutes as Barking caught traction and gained some important ground into our half – then danger at 4 minutes 30 with a scrum close to our line with a Barking put-in. As my frozen fingers gripped my quivering scribe, the ball came out and Harlow regained possession! Some text-book sharing of the ball produced a pass to Toby who swiftly conveyed it a near pitch length and across the line – a triumphant and morale boosting 1st try at 5 minutes 01. The team were fired-up and a blazing run from Joe saw him side-stepping like Jason Robinson across the line – our 2nd try at 6 minutes 02! Every growing in confidence, Charlie took a loose ball and ran the line until he was pushed out at 7 minutes 20.. Jake and Freddie both showed some great confidence and really flourished in our first game. 15 seconds before the clock expired in the first half, Joe streaked across the line once again to bag our 3rd!

2nd Half line-up:

Henry (Captain), Amity, Bailey, Montel, Will, Owen, George, Jacob, Gabe, Morgan

Barking kicked-off the 2nd half and they really came out of the blocks.. Some useful passing produced their 1st try at 1 minute 18. Our refreshed 2nd half side got settled and Henry cajoled his players into a better formation. Despite some great defending, Barking put down their 2nd at 2 minutes 46. Not wanting to erode the 1st half advantage, we went on the offensive and Henry put in some really mature tackles. The tempo didn’t subside and Amity gave as good as she got. At 3 minutes 39, Bailey had the ball ripped from his arms and some great rucking from Morgan and Gabe led to a scrum at 4 minutes 02 – Harlow put-in by Owen. We kept our nerve and patiently fed the ball out to Henry who scored a belter at 4 minutes 30. The sides were very evenly matched and George really excelled in the middle of the park. Another scrum came at 6 minutes 07 – this time a Barking put-in. Gabe was on a mission and we quickly re-gained possession. The final phase of the game was punctuated by Montel who effected a simply wonderful tackle that prevented a last minute try from Barking. The game ended 4-2 to Harlow.


Game 2 – Harlow vs. Eton Manor

Starting line-up:

Joe – (Captain), Charlie, Will, Jake, Corey, Harley, Teddy, Dillon, Freddie, Jacques

Eton Manor kicked-off the first half and were quickly tackled into touch at 18 seconds. Our first scrum took place at 33 seconds – Harlow put-in. Once the field had settled, it was evident that the pace was much quicker than the 1st game and Eton Manor burst across the try-line at 1 minute 41. Unruffled by their opponents pace, Harlow responded with some great tackling from Jacques and Freddie.. Harley had some great runs from one side to the other and safely got the ball away. However, another phase of great play from Eton Manor delivered their 2nd at 2 minutes 40. Harlow found themselves under some pressure, but defended valiantly and really gave it their all.. 4 minutes 40 – scrum down with an Eton Manor put-in – they retained possession and popped the ball out to the wing and it was a case of setting the ball down across the line at 5 minutes. Thankfully, the pace of play was slowed by Charlie and Corey in the middle of the field who held onto the ball and gained some ground. The spatial-awareness and passing skills of Eton Manor gave rise to a brace of tries at 6 minutes 01, 7 minutes 30 and just before the whistle at 8 minutes..

2nd Half Line-up:

Henry (Captain), Amity, Will, Gabe, Owen, Montel, Jacob, George, Bailey

Harlow kicked-off into the sun and the 2nd half was underway.. Will got stuck in immediately with some class rucking.. We had done a good job to hold up the opposition, but a credible try came from Eton Manor at 1 minute 52. Owen and Montel created some really useful play and Amity took the ball, only to sustain a tackle that saw her substituted by Morgan at 2 minutes 46. Our first scrum came at 4 minutes 09 and Will put-in for Harlow. We held our heads up and once again, Gabe showed some grit and got stuck into the action. We did a great job of slowing the pace and a scrum with an Eton Manor put-in came at 5 minutes. Bailey really stretched his legs in the game and despite his best efforts, couldn’t deter a try from Eton at 5 minutes 56. In less than a minute, they scored again at 6 minutes 47.. The final minute was upon us and a loose ball across our line was swiftly grounded by Bailey; an instinctive action in older players, but really pleasing to see at this age. Within seconds of the whistle, Eton Manor put down their 10th and last of the game.

Harlow 0 – Eton Manor 10.


Game 3 – Harlow vs. Eton Manor

Starting line-up:

Morgan (Captain), Toby, Freddie, Will, Montel, Jake, Jacques, Bailey, Montel

Harlow kicked-off the 1st half of our final game and we were determined to take it to the opposition.. Eton Manor, high in confidence, were thwarted near our try-line by Jacques with a terrific tackle into touch. We certainly made life much harder for Eton Manor in comparison to the previous game and neither side relented until the passage of play was halted by a scrum at 4 minutes 20. It was a Harlow put-in and we got the ball away in short order, only for a dropped pass to allow Eton Manor to regain possession. An unexpected kick toward our players gave Toby a great platform to showcase his catching ability! Once again. Will and Freddie demonstrated great maturity in the thick of the action and their fellow team mates didn’t shy away.. We staved-off the opposition until 6 minutes 20 when Eton Manor scored their 1st. 2 more late try’s at 7 minutes 15 and 7 minutes 59 saw the first half end on 3-0 to our opponents.

2nd Half Line-up:

Henry (Captain), Owen, Charlie, Corey, Jacob, Dillon, Bailey, Freddie, Joe

The final half of the final game was kicked-off by Eton Manor and both teams were feeling the cold.. The pace had slowed once again and a scrum was called at 1 minute 45 – Eton Manor put-in. Freddie and Dillon did a great job of holding up their opponents and there were brief exchanges of possession. Corey’s broken toe didn’t hold him up as he was light on his feet at close-quarter play.. A momentary lapse in focus allowed Eaton Manor through to a try at 2 minutes 38. Play restarted and Charlie received the ball – in a keen attempt to get it away, his pass went forward and a scrum was called at 3 minutes 10 – Eton Manor put-in. Some impressive passing and line discipline saw them score a 2nd at 3 minutes 25. We kicked to our opponents and Freddie sustained a painful stamp to the foot – he bravely continued and didn’t allow his injury to slow him down. 4 minutes 10 – it was another scrum, but this time a Harlow put-in. We maintained our formation and moved forward up the park. Undeterred, Eton Manor dug-deep and following a turn-over of the ball, scored once again at 5 minutes 20. Following the re-start, they employed the same disciplined formula and put down their 4th at 6 minutes 10. In spite of the deficit in score, Harlow didn’t give up and Owen in particular was a rucking demon.. We saw some great final runs from Dillon and general defending from the whole team.

The full-time whistle blew and the final game ended Harlow 0 – Eton Manor 7.


Following the customary applauding from both sides, Paul corralled the players together for a post-match crouch and round-up. It was a bitterly cold day, but the players were resolute in their commitment to themselves, their Parents and to our club. There was a palpable confidence among the team and we all reflected on the high points of the games we had played. Unfortunately, I was unable to report on the smaller games that were being played on the next pitch, but the coaches and Parents reported some great efforts and passages of play that are worthy of note. As ever, it was time to recognise the player in our midst who went above and beyond and did themselves proud – the Coaches were unanimous in their nominations and Freddie was the deserved recipient of this weeks’ Man of the Match – well done Freddie! Look forward to seeing you all again next week at our Home game against Upper Clapton.

The under 11s would like to take this opportunity to echo the sentiments of Paul Tucker and extend our heartfelt condolences to Lucy and Dean Reads’s family at this time.