Date: Sat 24th Sep 2016
The Rams were at Ram Gorse on Saturday for the first home league game of the season against a recently revamped and confident Ongar side and, if the first few minutes were to be anything to go by, that confidence was not misplaced.
Failure to field the ball at the kick off put the home team immediately on the back foot, defending deep in their own twenty-two, and Ongar were quick to capitalise on their gifted territory with a converted score. Less than five minutes on the clock and The Rams down 0-7: not a good start.
This early setback stung the home team into life and before long it was Ongar frantically trying to plug the gaps in their defence as again and again The Rams cut deep into visitors territory.
James Clark was the first on the scoresheet following a period of Rams forward domination. Harlow drove deep into the Ongar twenty-two before the defence briefly managed to halt them, five metres from the tryline. The respite was to be short-lived. Jumbo collected the ball from the back of the Harlow maul, bounced two defenders out of the way and powered over the line; 5-7.
Alfie Clark was soon to add to the scoring, cutting a sublime line through the Ongar defence; 10-07, closely followed by a successful Chay Clark penalty attempt; 13-07.
Ongar replied strongly and managed to win a kickable penalty opportunity of their own but the kick sailed wide and into the waiting arms of new Harlow winger, James Behr who then proceeded to mount a one-man counterattack, stepping and bouncing the desperate Ongar chasers before finally setting up a ruck just outside the Harlow twenty-two.
The ball was quickly recycled and shipped through the hands to the waiting Simon Vanbeck who ghosted through the defensive line and set off into Ongar territory. As the chasers closed in on him Vanbeck kicked the ball towards the tryline, outpacing the covering defenders to scoop up the prize and dive over the line; 20-07.
Harlow were now dominating possession and were to post two further scores before the halftime whistle blew, both scored by Tyler Howard. One out wide following quick hands along the Rams backline and the second from close quarters, diving over from a ruck set up by the pack just short of the Ongar tryline.
Ongar came out of the blocks strongly in the second period but were to come second to The Rams in most aspects of play as the home team continued in the dominant vein that they finished the first period in.
Continued pressure was to bring further scoring opportunities and The Rams were quick to take them.
Chay Clark was quick to spot the opening out wide and sent a long pass to the advancing Ryan Clark who rounded the defence before slipping the ball to the supporting Ali Phillips. More metres gained and the ball slipped back to Clark who powered in under the posts; 37-07.
A piercing break from Vanbeck carried him deep into the Ongar twenty-two before he was finally chased down. The support was there in an instant, setting up the ruck. Andy Quinn scooped up the ball and broke to the openside before standing up the defence and delivering the try-scoring pass to James Clark; 44-07.
The gaps were now appearing at every attack and Harlow continued to capitalise. A long floated pass from Mitchell Hodgkinson found the advancing Alfie Clark who stepped through two defenders before touching the ball down; 51-07.
The scoring was finally finished off with a third from James Clark following another break from the base of the ruck by Quinn, Clark touching down for a carbon copy of his previous score.
Final score 58-07 to The Rams and a visit to Thurrock next week for the next installment of this season campaign.
Andrew Quinn post match interview: ‘Both Jumbos last two trys were from sweet offloads from me, whilst demonstrating uncoachable skill and a vigour that defies my advancing years and inevitable descent into middle-aged mediocrity’.
Tries: A. Clark (2), J. Clark (3), R. Clark, T. Howard (2), S. Vanbeck
Penalties: C. Clark (1)
Conversions: C. Clark (5)
1. Barrie Hussey 2. Tyler Howard 3. Danny Fitz 4. Dan Evans 5. Kerry Palmer 6.James Clark 7. Charlie Robinson 8. Andy Quinn 9. Alfie Clark 10. Chay Clark 11. James Behr 12. Ryan Clark 13. Simon Vanbeck 14. Ashley Westall 15. Ali Phillips 16. Dan McCarthy 17. Mitchell Hodgkinson