Date: Sun 15th Oct 2017

Time: 10.30am

Match Report


Epping Upper Clapton 0-38 Harlow

This week the Harlow U15s made their way to local rivals, Epping Upper Clapton, for their first meeting of the new season. The odds looked bleak for the young Rams; with Epping having given Harlow three consecutive losses in the previous season, absences of key players leaving the squad at a bare fifteen, and a back-line completely out of position. It would have been difficult for anybody to put the favour to Harlow. The U15s have a knack, however, for proving people wrong.

The word for the day was physicality. Harlow knew that the only way to swing the numbers advantage back in their favour was to make their presence felt on the pitch. That meant dominating every breakdown, ruck, maul, and scrum from the first whistle. It was a hard task for the fifteen players but a task they were more than capable of accomplishing. The Epping attack pushed against the Harlow back-line, trying to force the gap. The attack was, not only withheld, but repelled. Harlow were then able to press the advantage and land themselves a penalty in the Epping half. A swift kick from Joseph saw Harlow 0-3 ahead.

The game then became a battle of attrition; with territory and possession being traded back and forth. The score line held at just three points for a large portion of the first half. The stalwart Harlow defence kept the home team from gaining any positive ground but handling errors stopped the visitors from getting any more points. The stalemate seemed as if it would last the entire game. The Harlow U15s decided to change that. Handling errors were replaced with accurate passes; sideways running was replaced with strong attacking breaks; and stagnation was replaced with points. Once the Epping line was broken the first time, with a try from Mohammed, the writing was on the wall for the home team.

Harlow became a singular, formidable unit. The dominance in the breakdown areas was maintained and a confidence in attack was added to it. The pairing of a strong defence and attack meant that points were assured. Harlow created intelligent phases of play that forced gaps in the Epping back-line and earned Harlow four more tries in quick succession. With Joseph’s accurate boot on the conversions, the scoreline was left at 0-38 to Harlow.

The Harlow U15s showed a tenacity and desire to win which is unseen in many outfits. For the first time in five years there were not fifteen players on the side; there was a single, mechanical team. Each player trusted the man on either side of him to do his job, which allowed everybody to work to their best. Even when tempers flared, Harlow kept their composure and answered back on the scoreboard. All fifteen of those players have deserved a feeling of pride and accomplishment. A feeling that is well earned.

1. Suleiman Mohammed

2. Connor Molloy

3. Tyrone Kangwende

4. Nathan Dennis

5. Luke Cheetham

6. Jamie Gaunt (c)

7. Ollie Faber

8. Louie Lynch

9. Jude Clark

10. Tom Joseph

11. Mitchell Miller

12. Tommy Johnson

13. Ervins Bukejs

14. Bradley Holman

15. Matthew Brough

Tries: Bukejs (2), Faber, Lynch, Mohammed

Con: Joseph (5)

Pen: Joseph

MOTM: Bukejs