Date: Sat 5th Nov 2016
It was second playing third in the league on Saturday as The Rams entertained Maldon in the latest Merit League outing; another must win fixture but also a need to produce a commanding performance to truly show our credentials to the rest of the league.
The home team were placed firmly on the front foot by James Roberts from the kick off, a position they were not to relinquish for the entire match. Roberts fielded the ball, stepped the chasers and set off down the left wing, piercing deep into Maldon territory. A foot just in touch brought play back to the halfway line but the marker had been laid down.
A turnover in the midfield and Harlow were back on the attack, driving deep into Maldon territory, eventually setting up a maul ten metres from the tryline. The pack drove on, sucking in more and more defenders before Danny Fitz made his move. A quick look to gauge his options and the Harlow prop was away, crashing over the line for the first Harlow score of the day. Champagne Rugby front row style.
Maldon came back strongly but the home defence was solid, starving the visitors of any genuine forward momentum.
Another turnover and The Rams were back on the attack, driving into the belly of the Maldon defence, sucking in more and more of their wide players and creating space for the home backs. Chay Clark was quick to see the space and sent the ball through the hands to Simon Vanbeck. The Rams winger accelerated into Maldon territory but as he neared the tryline he was chased down by two Maldon defenders. A brief moment of contact resulted in the two Maldon players lying prone on the floor and Vanbeck diving over for the second Harlow score; 10-0.
As the fifteen minute mark approached The Rams ran in their third, Ashley Westall powering over following swift hands along the line, closely followed by another from Andre Riddell who was chased all the way into the corner by the desperate Maldon cover defence; 22-0.
A powerful midfield drive by Kerry Palmer created the space and The Rams backs were again quick to exploit it; Dan Hockley sped through the opening and advanced deep into the Maldon twenty-two before slipping the ball to the supporting Jack Almond who went in under the posts; 27-0.
Ryan Clark finished off the first half scoring in the dying minutes, picking an unstoppable line to slice clean through the Maldon defence; 34-0 and halftime.
Maldon came back strongly after the break and pinned The Rams back into their own half of the pitch for what seemed an age but once again the Harlow defence held firm, eventually forcing the turnover followed by a rapid counter-attack and Vanbeck racing 60 metres to touch down his second of the day.
Again Maldon responded strongly and forced play deep into the Harlow twenty-two but as before the defence held firm and forced the turnover. The ball was shipped back to Ali Phillips who immediately went on the attack, wrong footing the advancing Maldon players before stepping into space and setting off on his ‘length of the pitch’ sprint to the opposing tryline; 48-0.
The pressure on Maldon was now becoming unbearable as time and again The Rams found the gaps: Ryan Clark slicing through the midfield to claim his second; two for Dan Hockley and one for Dan Stevenson took the score to 74-0 with a further fifteen minutes still to play.
A lineout in the corner created the maul from which Dan Makepeace was to claim the final score of the day, breaking to the blind and diving over in the corner; 79-0.
As the players retired back to their own half it became apparent that there was something wrong with Dean Read and the match was halted whilst he received treatment. Treatment which ultimately led to an ambulance being called and Dean being rushed to hospital.
This Rams squad have gradually, over the last two seasons, became a very strong unit and, as recent results show, a very fine team and Dean Read has been a major part of that revival.
Saturday The Rams won 79-0. We also lost a friend.