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Rugby: Wansted found wanting against Harlow

Rugby / Mon 24th Feb 2014 at 02:06pm

Wanstead 25 v 36 Harlow

THIS was a home fixture for Wansted which had already been postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. When faced with the same problem on the replay date under the league rules Harlow offered to hold the match on their ground. Wansted, not wanting to cede Home advantage to Harlow arranged for the game to be played on a neutral ground at Bishops Stortford College. The pitch provided by the college was superb well drained and with a firm grass surface. Harlow backs have always had plenty of speed and exploited the conditions to run in six excellent tries for a comfortable win.

Harlow started playing up the slope and into a strong wind. From the kick off they showed that they were going to take the game to Wansted. They ran the ball at every opportunity and had a good scoring chance in the first few minutes but were stopped just short. From the ensuing maul Harlow were penalized and Wansted cleared. When Wansted did make a break the Harlow tackling was committed and their territorial gains were kept low. Thirteen minutes into the game Rob Mackie from just inside the opposition half broke clear with real pace taking play to the 22 where centre Luke Bowering was perfectly placed to take the offload and run in the try. The conversion missed into the wind but Harlow were pleased to settle for a 5 – 0 lead. As the half progressed Wansted began to get into the game. Harlow did not help their cause by conceding too many penalties at the rucks but also at the set scrums.

Mid way through the half from a maul on the 5 metre line the Wansted No. 8 came clear with the ball and dived over players on the ground to touch down. The conversion gave them the lead 5 – 7 and not long after a penalty allowed them to extend the margin to 5 – 10. On 30 minutes a good attack by Harlow lead to a maul deep in the Wansted half and hooker Mark Bowering came away with the ball to force his way over the line to level the score 10 points all. On the point of half time Wansted went ahead with another penalty making the margin 10 – 13 in their favour at the turnaround.

The first 8 minutes of the second half saw Harlow take the game by storm. With the wind in their favour they produced blistering pace to run in three tries and set up a match winning lead. Within minutes Harlow were on the attack and full back Rob Mackie came into the line at pace and burst clear to score the try and Kurtis Knightley converted. Immediately on the restart from a maul Harron, making a welcome return to the side, broke clear and sprinted in for the try. Kurtis Knightley converted, putting Harlow ahead 24 – 13.

Four minutes later Harlow were in possession again and they moved the ball to Will Grimley on the wing who sprinted past two defenders to touch down for another try. In the mid point of the half another converted try put Harlow clear at 36 – 13. The forwards had established a good base and this time it was Jamie Fricker who took the offload and sprinted clear cutting in to make sure the conversion was kickable. In the final quarter, the Harlow forwards put good pressure on Wansted particularly from the lineouts where they took very clean ball. However when Wansted did manage to get into the Harlow 22 they drove hard for the line and were able to run in two tries, one converted to make it 36 – 25 at the close.

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