Date: Sat 13th Jan 2018
Harlow Rams 26 – Old Cooperians 12
The Rams entertained Old Coops on Saturday in the latest round of this season’s BL campaign. The loss to Southend last time out now means that every game is a ‘must-win’ fixture if The Rams are going to win promotion again this season.
First team call-ups and a few last minute drop-outs saw the twenty strong squad of Thursday night dwindle down to 16 on the morning of the match but, unlike last week’s visit to Southend, everyone was able to play in their correct position and the pre-match warm-up revealed a squad hungry for the win.
The Rams started the match at a frantic pace and it wasn’t long before the gaps were found in the visitors defence. A pin-point pass from fly-half Ben Seymour found the grateful hands of the speeding Will Grimley whose angle of running took him clear of the Old Coops defensive line.
Grimley advanced into the Old Coops twenty-two but seemed to be running out of space as the cover defence forced him tight towards the touchline. As both the touchline and the defenders rapidly converged on the Harlow Centre, he delivered an audacious inside ball to the supporting Joe Heeney whose angled run found him in open ground with the try line fast approaching; 7-0.
Harlow attacked again from the restart, powering down the right-hand flank and sucking in defender after defender. Coops fought hard to stem the tide but a quick change in the point of attack saw the defenders wrong-footed and Mitchell Hodgkinson diving in under the posts; 14-0.
The visitors were struggling to keep hold of the ball or to gain any forward momentum as the home team seemed to be in full control. How quickly things can change! A needless penalty at a ruck on the halfway line gave Coops their first piece of decent possession and they were not about to waste it.
Penalty kick to just outside the Harlow twenty-two; clean take at the line-out and the visitors were now firmly on the front foot, driving into the Harlow twenty-two, quick recycling and they were over in the corner; 14-05.
From a neutral perspective, this Old Coops score was just what the match needed as both sets of players threw themselves into the encounter. Both teams were pretty evenly matched with perhaps the home team slightly edging it in the defensive stakes and just as the halftime whistle was about to blow the visitors defence finally cracked; Joe Heeney scampering over for his second of the day and Seymour again adding the extras. 21 – 05 and halftime.
The second half was an even affair with both sets of players looking for the elusive opening whilst striving to close down their opponents space and it was the visitors who drew first blood, a converted effort and the score now stood at 21-12.
Ten minutes to go and the next score would be decisive. A Harlow effort would potentially take the game away from the visitors and another for Coops would have set up an exciting final few minute.
It was the home team who forced the opening; Chris Davis powering into the Coops twenty-two before being dragged to ground. Harlow ball at the ensuing scrum and a break for the corner which the defence just managed to close down, winning a lineout on their own 5 metre line.
A simple enough position for Coops to clear their lines but a mix-up at the front of their lineout saw the ball fall sweetly into the open arms of Harlow Hooker, Hodgkinson, and he was over for is second. 26-12 and final whistle.
The Rams are at home again this coming Saturday (20th Jan) for a cup match against Wandstead. 2.00 kick off.
Try; Heeney (2), Hodgkinson (2)
Con; Seymour (3)
2. Mitchell Hodgkinson
3. Barrie Hussey
4. Matt Wright
5. Shane Evans
6. Darryl Brooks
8. Chris Davis
9. Dan Treamer
10. Ben Seymour
11. Joe Heeney
12. Ali Phillips
13. Will Grimley
14. Nick Rogers
15. Jack Almond
16. Chris Whyte