Thurrock 15 - 12 Rams

Date: Sat 1st Oct 2016

Time: 3pm

Match Report

The Rams were on the road Saturday for a top of the table clash with Thurrock. Both teams had won their opening three fixtures of the season; Thurrock with some very large winning margins but Harlow were quietly confident of coming away with the victory.

The home side fielded a very experienced team who appeared to expect to be able to control the forward battle and steamroll over their younger opponents but if was The Rams who started the game the stronger of the two sides.

Continued pressure brought Harlow within inches of scoring on two separate occasions, each time to be thwarted by the abrasive home defence. The territorial kicking of Alfie Clark was of the highest order; constantly pinning Thurrock back deep in their own territory but each time the home side managed to clear their lines from the subsequent lineout..

As the half progressed it seemed to the watching spectators that nothing was going to break the deadlock: both defences able to counter their opponents attacking play.

The breakthrough finally came on the stroke of half hour. A Harlow scrum, just outside the Thurrock twenty-two and a sniping run from stand-in number nine Ryan McGlone found the elusive opening.

McGlone fed the ball out to winger Ashley Westall who drew the defence before passing back inside to the supporting James ‘Jack’ Clark. The Harlow Number Eight still had work to do but, as was seen by his hattrick against Ongar last time out, the Harlow man definitely knows his way to the line.
Clark bounced the first defender and accelerated to the line, crossing it to the left of the right-hand upright to leave a comfortable kick for younger brother Alfie; 0-7.

The lead was to be short-lived. Just as the first half was drawing to it’s inevitable close Thurrock launched a last desperate attack which culminated in their left wing diving over in the corner; 05-07 and halftime.

The second half began with the visitors on the front foot and applying intense pressure to the Thurrock tryline. The Harlow pack, although giving away a fair amount of weight to their opposite numbers, piled on the pressure and forced play deep into the Thurrock twenty-two.

The forward momentum was finally halted ten metres out but the ball was well presented and McGlone sent a long pass out to Alfie Clark. The Harlow fly-half stepped the first defender and raced for the line; 05-12.

Thurrock came back strongly and, following a catch and drive from a five metre lineout, forced their way over to close the deficit; 10-12.

The game then reverted back to the stalemate of early in the first half. Neither side able to break down their opposing defence, the action all confined to the central third of the pitch as time and again both sets of players threw themselves into the attack.

Five minutes from time and an injury to Jack Christy forced a reshuffle in the Harlow pack but still The Rams held firm. They were now defending deep in their own twenty-two but it looked as if the game was won when Alfie Clark got his hands on the ball and sent a long clearance kick out to touch, just inside Thurrock territory.

A look to the match official who indicated there was still time for the lineout to take place. The Harlow defence had been solid all day, constantly forcing the attack out wide and into touch but this time the Thurrock winger managed to keep in the field of play and got to the line a spit second before the despairing challenge from Fullback Ali Phillips. Final whistle and the home team 15-12 to the good.

Try; J. Clark, A. Clark
Con: A. Clark

1. Barrie Hussey, 2. Mitchell Hodgkinson, 3. Jack Christy, 4. Dan Stevenson, 5. Dan Makepeace, 6. Dean Read, 7. Dan McCarthy, 8. James Clark, 9. Ryan McGlone, 10. Alfie Clark, 11. Joe Heeney, 12. Ryan Clark, 13. Simon Vanbeck, 14. Ashley Westall, 15. Ali Phillips, 16. James Roberts, 17. Sulli Ashcroft, 18. Jack Almond. 19. James Behr, 20. Alex Beard