Harlow entered a team into the Essex Rugby Festival for under 23s / Returning Students held at Barking Rugby Club last night.
The format was a Turbo 10s Tournament that was fast, exciting and extremely hard work for all players. With increased points being awarded for tries scored closer to the posts, increased points being awarded for conversions being kicked from wider out and the opportunity to put a 2min power play into place for double points made the scoring a little difficult to keep up with but none the less very exciting.
Game 1 Harlow came up against Chelmsford and dominated play through quick recycling and crisp hands. Good work by Chay and Ryan Clark allowed Harlow to score a well worked try through Jack Almond.
Harlow ran out eventual winners 25-12.
Game 2 Harlow played Upminster and ran out 30-12 winners with Harlow making good use of the power play. The highlights of the game being a 40 yard dash by Charlie Robinson and some quick interplay between Andre Riddell and Mitchell Hodgkinson sent Riddell over in the corner for a score.
Game 3 straight back into the action saw Harlow came up a strong physical Thurrock side and went down 20-0. Although some good defensive work and turnovers from Jack Christy should be noted.
There then followed a quick fire repeat of the previous games with results as follows.
Game 4 Harlow played Chelmsford and ran out comfortable winners 30-12. A 60 yes 60 yard dash by Dan Stephenson leaving everyone in his wake to score. Although he did have to leave the field for some oxygen after this mammoth feat.
Game 5 Harlow played Upminster in a much tighter affair than the previous encounter. A strong 40 yard carry by Harlows Dan Evans followed by a quick recycle and interplay between Forwards and Backs allowed Ryan McGlone to power his way over the line. However good power play use and a score by Upminster found Harlow behind with the final play. Some strong Forward carries and deft interplay between the Backs allowed Alfie Clark(e) to jink his way over the line to win it for Harlow 17-12.
Game 6 against Thurrock was again a much tighter affair with Harlow going down 12-10. Some excellent terrier like defending from Dan McCarthy and Callum Coyne allowed Harlow to keep Thurrock at bay and created more ball for Harlow.
A little more composure may have resulted in a win for Harlow and presented a difficult points count back for the organisers to decipher the overall Winners.
However, a very good performance on the night by a very spirited and skilful Harlow side saw them finish second overall.
A big thank you to Kevin Ashcroft for getting this off the ground for Harlow must be said and we look forward to next Season when we have offered to host this event.
Harlow U23s / Returning Students Squad
Jack Christy, Mitch Hodgkinson, Dan Stephenson, Dan Evans, Charlie Robinson, Dan McCarthy, Callum Coyne, Andre Riddell, Chay Clark (c), Ryan Clark, Alfie Clark, Jack Almond and Ryan McGlone.