Date: Sat 28th Jan 2023
Harlow struggled somewhat on Saturday at Latton Park but in the end ground out a valuable victory against an obdurate Wanstead side. The Redmen on this occasion lacked much of the fluency in attack that normally serves them so well but displayed moments of quality that allowed them to take the win 25-0.
With both teams showing creditable energy and endeavour it was the accuracy of core skills that was often missing which led to a rather stop, start affair. Coach Michael Weston admitted as much when he spoke after the game “ We have got a lot of work ons to do at training but at the end of the day we are really happy how the boys got the job done. Our games against Wanstead are traditionally tough and this was no different, to keep them scoreless speaks volumes for the spirit within the group”.
Harlow started the game well and were troubling the scorer’s after only four minutes as Harry Masini came off his wing to take a Danny Smith flat pass to go under the posts for a try which Smith converted.
What came over the next thirty minutes was eminently forgettable as dropped passes, gain line indiscipline and stuttering set pieces, led to the unavoidable interruption of the whistle. With the break nearing, good Harlow pressure managed to engender a couple of penalties around 30 metres from the visitors line both of which were sensibly dispatched by Smith to make it 13-0 as the whistle blew.
Half time changing room talk was about winning ugly, and so it proved to be as a war of attrition was punctuated by fleeting moments of quality, two of which saw Harlow score tries. Harlow managed a period of pressure just outside the visitors red zone and from the back of a ruck Smith shaped to pass before dipping his right shoulder and darting to the line where despite the attendance of a couple of tacklers he freed his hands to touch down for a converted score.
The next try owed much to a fantastic defensive set by the Redmen, with Wanstead in the red zone battering away it seemed inevitable that a try would ensue, but total commitment to the cause saw them repelled and a clearing penalty won. Shortly after this fine heads up rugby saw Smith spot his half back partner Ben Creasey in space on the right wing, a well weighted kick pass was safely gathered by the scrum half who made ground into Wanstead twenty two and a couple of phases later Alfie Clark put Masini in for his second of the game. Smith’s conversion attempt crashed against a post and with seven minutes left in the game touch line talk was of a try bonus point which unfortunately did not materialise as Wanstead simply refused to allow Harlow the opportunity to engineer another opening.
Commenting on the lack of a bonus point Coach Weston “ We would have liked the bonus point obviously, but with the nature of the game we are satisfied with the win to keep the momentum going”