Date: Sat 17th Sep 2022
Harlow began their league campaign at Latton Park on Saturday against a youthful and energetic Braintree side, the hosts behind a dominant scrum set piece scored seven tries to register a bonus point 45-19 victory.
Harlow were on their game from the first whistle as winger Joel Drake leapt athletically to retain possession from the kick off, and a number of phases later the ball found its way to prop Ryan Clark lurking on the left wing, who strolled over for the first score, fly half Danny Smith nailed the extra two.
Some five minutes later the home side scored again, debutant number eight Dave Archer stole Braintree ball at the lineout to set the back line away, good scramble defence held up the initial foray but deep in the visitors red zone fellow debutant scrum half Ben Creasey dummied his way over from the back of a ruck to leave Smith with a routine conversion.
Braintree then had a period of pressure inside Harlow’s half but were penalized at a scum as the red pack trundled them backwards off their own ball. Smith’s clearing penalty kick was long and from the resulting line out the ball was spun deftly along the backs to Ross Stalley who raced over for the score which Smith again improved with a fine kick.
A few minutes later Harlow were in again for the bonus point score, a length of the field break eventually found Archer backing up the break and he ran in near the posts unhindered. Smith then slotted the two points to take the lead out to 28 points.
Injury stoppages for both teams then broke the rhythm of the game for a while but Harlow got on the scoreboard again just before half time when a muscular run by winger Drake tied in several defenders in the visitors twenty two allowing the supporting Will Garner to cross the whitewash wide out left for an unconverted score.
The home side began the second forty as they did the first, with an early score, Clark on the end of some sharp handling to bag his brace which Smith added the two.
Will Garner on 52 minutes completed his double and closed out Harlow’s scoring for the day as perhaps understandably with the game in the bag Harlow’s focus dropped and some of the play started to abandon the script that had served them so well. Braintree who to their credit had never let their heads drop, scored a breakaway try from their own half which seemed to give them confidence, and scored two more before the referee brought the game to a close.
A good game mostly, with some fine handling being rounded off with clinical finishing, the forwards will be happy with their set piece, in which new prop Alberto Di Dio settled in seamlessly. Shout out too for another newbie Harry Masini who came off the bench today, plenty of pace and potential there as well, this along with the good numbers at training makes it all in all a positive start to the season.
1 Ryan Clark 7:0
2 Ben Creasey 14:0
3 Ross Stalley 21:0
4 Dave Archer 28:0
5 Will Garner 33:0
6 Ryan Clark 40:0
7 Tom Garner 45:0
HARLOW 45 : BRAINTREE 19