Date: Sun 3rd Apr 2022
This is the first time we have met Chess Valley and it was a privilege to host them for an entertaining game of rugby packed full of tries. Certainly a game for the attack, perhaps not so much the defence.
Without Montelle Levy and Kai Young who had been representing us playing for Saracens against Harlequins and Northampton at Warwick University this was a chance to give the squad a run out and try different players in different positions. In the absence of Henry Stovell, Danny Billington took on the captaincy.
The first half began with a promising set of play for the hosts, but it was Chess Valley who scored first from a tap and go penalty. 0-5.
After a bust from Ben Ferrier, the ball was shipped right to Joseph Pankhurst, who had Tolu Ajibabi on his shoulder and as the gap opened up, Tolu went in under the sticks. Converted by Joseph Pankhurst 7-5.
Jack Rushworth hassled the scrum half following a scrum wide on the right. The ball was moved swiftly to the left where Matt Macfarlane bust through stepping inside to off load to Owen Eynon who scored out wide. 12-5.
Chess Valley had a line out close to their own line and attempted to run it out from behind their own posts. With the pressure from the defence, the ball went loose, and Ben Ferrier touched down. Joseph Pankhurst again converted 19-5.
Gabe Greaves helped out Chess Valley turning out for them when one of their props got injured banging heads with his own player.
Harlow were looking dominant at this point in the game and their off-loading game was paying dividends. From a rumbling attack, captain Danny Billington was able to get over the line. Joseph Pankhurst hit the post with his conversion. 24-5.
Now Harlow had built a gap, Chess Valley came back into the game with two tries one from a penalty out wide and one from a Harlow clearance kick down the centre of the pitch. 24-15.
Just before half time Fred Thurley replaced Alfie Dutnall. Harlow trying to up the tempo Jack Rushworth tapped and went, offloading to Ben Ferrier to score his second of the game. Joseph Pankhurst converted. 31-5.
Chess Valley would not roll over and from a pick and go at the break down they scored, quickly followed by a number 8 pick up on of which was converted, and Harlow were not going to run away with this game. 31-27
Half time 31 – 27.
The half time team talk reflected our need to defend as a team in our units. Replacements were made with Gabe Greaves moving from Chess Valley to Harlow, Joseph Williams replaced Felix and Felix propped up the scrum for Chess Valley. Jamiyu Yussif and Corey Kelman were replaced by Freddie Adams and Brandon Jackson.
The second half began with the Harlow forwards winning a scrum against the head. Tolu Ajibabi picked up and ran into the open space to score. 36-27.
Chess Valley then capitalised on a Harlow split ball to move it wide and score a converted try. Taking them to within two points of Harlow 36-34.
Atakan Alagoz replaced the injured Gabe Greaves. Now came a brace of tries from the gas man Matt Macfarlane, playing out of position on this wing but with lots of pace firstly from a deft chip through from Jack Rushworth and then from some good hands passing out to the wide left. Matt used his pace to get under the posts both time and Joseph Pankhurst converted both giving Harlow some breathing space on the score board 50-34.
Corey Kelman replaced Ed Lea, with Ben Ferrier moving from centre to back row. Breathing space in the score board, meant Harlow went a little soft as Chess Valley scored wide twice, reducing the gap to 50-46.
Harlow were to have the last of the spoils in the final 15 minutes. From good hands left, Tolu Ajibabi crossed for his hattrick try converted by Joseph Pankhurst 57-44.
Ben Ferrier scored his hattrick try driving through straight and hard. Converted by Joseph Pankhurst 62-46.
Next up Harlow were deep in their twenty two, Corey Kelman broke the line chipping ahead, Danny Billington collected the ball and steamed on, Jack Rushworth chipped ahead for Matt Macfarlane to collect and as tackled off load to the supporting Owen Eynon to cross the line for his second of the match. 67-46.
Finally from a tap and go penalty, with the usual high energy approach Ben Ferrier crossed the line for the fourth time in the final play of the game, converted by Joseph Pankhurst. 74-46.
Special mentions today to Gabe Greaves who played for Chess Valley in the first half and Felix Waugh who played for them in the second half. Jamiyu Yussif also made an appearance for Chess Valley towards the end of the game. Great games from captain Danny Billington, scrum half Jack Rushworth and stand, stand out winger Matt Macfarlane.
Final Score 74 – 46
Tries: Tolu Ajibabi (3), Owen Eynon (2), Ben Ferrier (4), Danny Billington, Matt Macfarlane (2)
Conversions: Joseph Pankhurst (7)
Penalties: Not this week
Referee: Tony Hills, Harlow
1. Felix Waugh, 2. Danny Billington, 3. Atakan Alagoz, 4. Ed Lea, 5. Jamiyu Yussif, 6. Alfie Dutnall, 7. Corey Kelman, 8. Tolu Ajibabi, 9. Jack Rushworth, 10. Joseph Pankhurst, 11. Jacob Heald, 12. Ben Ferrier, 13. Owen Eynon, 14. Matt MacFarlane, 15. Tobie Westbrook, 16. Joseph Williams, 17. Gabe Greaves, 18. Brandon Jackson, 19. Freddie Adams, 20. Fred Thurley.