Date: Sat 22nd Oct 2016
It was a trip to Basildon for The Rams on Saturday for the latest Merit League fixture and another chance for the squad to lay down their marker as potential league champions.
There were a few enforced changes from last weeks Rams squad, the most eye catching being the move to prop for usual winger Ashley Westall. A positional change that was to prove highly effective.
Harlow started strongly and were close to posting the first points after only a few minutes when Ali Phillips was brought down inches from the Basildon tryline but the respite for the home team was to be short lived.
The Rams attacked again and set up a ruck, deep in the Basildon twenty-two. Ball set back nicely and shipped out to the charging Kerry Palmer. The home defence converged on the the advancing Harlow man and again managed to bring the attack to an apparent halt inches from the line but as Palmer went to ground he was able to stretch out and touch the ball down on the line. Chay Clark added the extras and The Rams were 0-7 to the good.
Sloppy restart work gifted the home team territory and a breakdown of communication at the following scrum gave them an opening that their scrumhalf was quick to take; 05-07.
The home team were strong around the breakdown but lacked the pace out wide so The Rams adapted their gameplan accordingly and before long began racking up the points.
James Clark broke blind from the base of the scrum and advanced into the Basildon twenty-two before off-loading to the supporting Alfie Clark. The Rams scrumhalf advanced to within yards of the touchline before finally being closed down by the desperately chasing defenders but managed to slip the ball back to his number 8 who had followed up in close support. A slight step was enough for him to evade the last defender and it was 05-12.
Five minutes later and James Clark was racing over for his brace after stepping through the Basildon defensive line and outpacing the cover in the race for the line; 05-19.
The Rams were soon pushing hard in the red zone again before an injury to Dan McCarthy briefly halted the momentum.
The half was now drawing to a close but there was still time for one more Rams score and again the space was to be found out wide. Quick recycling at the breakdown and crisp backline handling created the space for Phillips who glided through the defence and raced into the Basildon twenty-two before slipping the ball to Jack Almond. The Rams wing still had work to do and only a few inches between the defence and the touchline to do it in but his injection of pace was enough to hit the gap and take him clear of the defence and round under the posts; 05-26 and halftime.
Poor restart work at the beginning of the second period gave the home team the upper hand and there now followed a prolonged period of Basildon attacking play which The Rams defence comfortably dealt with but Harlow were now finding it increasingly difficult to gain any sort of forward momentum.
A second injury, this time to Sulli Ashcroft, led to more enforced changes and the game settled into a war of attrition with neither side seeming able to penetrate their opposing defence; the action confined between the two twenty-two metre lines.
With ten minutes left on the clock The Rams finally broke the stalemate, eventually getting the ball out wide where Dan Hockley found the gap and accelerated into the Basildon half before laying the ball back to the supporting Will Grimley; 05-33.
This final score finished off the contest with the final few minutes reverting back to the midfield stalemate of earlier in the half.
Another Rams victory cementing their place in second place in the league.
Try: James Clark (2), Kerry Palmer, Will Grimley, Jack Almond
Con: Chay Clark (4)
1. Ashley Westall, 2. Mitchell Hodgkinson, 3. Dan Stevenson, 4. Dan Makepeace, 5. Kerry Palmer, 6. Dean Read, 7. Dan McCarthy, 8. James Clark,9. Alfie Clark, 10. Chay Clark, 11. Jack Almond, 12. Ryan Clark, 13. Simon Vanbeck, 14. Will Grimley, 15. Ali Phillips, 16. Sulli Ashcroft, 17. Alex Beard, 18. James Chapman, 19. Dave Bugg, 20. Dan Hockley