Rugby: Harlow lose away to Beccles

Lifestyle / Wed 19th Nov 2014 at 12:23pm

HARLOW slipped down to fourth in London North East 3 following a 20-13 away defeat to mid-table Beccles.

Following three excellent performances Harlow prepared for their trip to West Norfolk hopeful of beating Beccles away from home for the first time.

However, with a number of regulars unavailable and heavy traffic leaving Harlow with just 20 minutes to warm up they were on the back foot from the start.

Despite this the two team appeared to be evenly matched and Harlow took an early lead through a James McFerran penalty after the Beccles inside-centre missed a kick at goal.

Accounting for the wet conditions Harlow attempted to play for territory by kicking long. However, the work rate did not back up the strategy and as a collective they failed to organise their kick chase properly. Harlow were punished by the Beccles back three, with the right winger scoring from 65m out without a hand being laid on him after 18 minutes. The conversion was missed, leaving the score 5-3.

A lack of communication again cost Harlow when Beccles pulled the away team’s defence across the park before swinging back the other way. This time the left-winger was the beneficiary, finding himself in acres of space for a free run in to score. Conversion missed.

It was at this point that Harlow started to impose themselves. Playing for territory and putting the Beccles back three under pressure with accurate kicking and effective chases they established a foothold in the Beccles 22 that they refused to give up. Eventually the pressure told when Barney Goodey kicked ahead for McFerran and Rob Mackie to chase. Pressure from McFerran resulted in the Beccles full-back dropping the ball over the line and Mackie was on hand to touch down for Harlow’s first try of the match. Conversion missed.

Beccles immediately came back at Harlow and worked their way forward. Like their second try they moved the Harlow defence from one side to side the other before releasing their outside backs. The Beccles outside-centre eventually found himself in space and managed to draw the last defender before putting away a teammate to score in the corner. Again the conversion was missed.

The second half started evenly with neither team making much progress but it was Beccles that broke the deadlock with a push over try after 60 minutes following a series of driving mauls.

Harlow needed a quick response and almost got one when veteran second row Palmer made a weaving run into the Beccles 22. He was brought down close to the line but despite recycling the ball Harlow were unable to convert their pressure into point. Palmer, out of breath following his run, was substituted for Chris Ellis.

The rest of the half continued in a similar vein with Harlow forcing themselves forward without managing to score. However, in injury time Harlow managed to cross the line to secure a bonus point. A well worked team try, with forwards and backs combining through 15 phases of play, was finished off by McFerran after a cross field kick from Goodey.

The final score was 20-13.

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