Rugby: Young Rams go down fighting against Braintree

Lifestyle / Thu 1st Oct 2015 at 01:35pm

Braintree 31 Harlow Rams 20
26th September 2015 

Rams XV – Merit Table

The Rams traveled to Braintree on Saturday for the second Merit Table fixture of the season.

The return from injury of Chay Clark was countered by the unavailability of a large number of players resulting in a match day squad of a bare fifteen and a few strange positional changes (Dean Read playing on the wing being the strangest)

The Rams started the game on the front foot and were soon putting the home team to the sword. The youthful Rams squad once again showing that there is no substitute for pace and within 5 minutes the first score had been posted.

Strong work at the breakdown, just inside the Harlow half, produced quick ball for The Rams backline to exploit; Andre Riddell shipping the ball on to the speeding Jack Almond, ghosting into the line from fullback.

Almond drew the defence before releasing Joe Tucker on the wide outside. Tucker was caught by the cover defence just outside the twenty-two but managed to slip the ball back inside to the supporting Almond who raced in to score under the posts; Chay Clark adding the extras: 0-07.

The first score also coincided with the first of the days injuries; Luke Hammond being forced to retire with a sprained ankle and the visitors down to 14 players.

Braintree managed to grab an unconverted try before Clark stretched the Harlow lead with a well struck penalty; 05-10.

The home team finished the half the strongest, managing to run in 2 converted trys; Halftime 19-10.

Two minutes into the second period and the second Harlow injury, Joe Tucker having to leave the field of play with a rather strange looking lump on his wrist and the visitors down to 13.

The depleted Rams were the next team to add to the scoreboard. Jake Watts sent out a wide pass to the advancing Almond who again drew the defence before releasing his winger, this time it was Dean Read, collecting the ball with space in front of him and outstripping the covering defence to go over in the corner; 19-15.

The lack of numbers soon had an effect and, despite the valiant defence, the home team eventually found the gap and ran in an unconverted try; 24-15 and Dan Makepeace forced to retire with an injured shoulder.

The Rams were now down to 12 players but still managed to make the home team look very ordinary, the abrasive defence causing numerous handling errors in the Braintree backline but, with a 3 man deficit the opening was bound to eventually come; 31-15.

The final ten minutes should have been a bit of a rout but the Harlow players must have failed to read the script properly as they continually went on the attack, Andre Riddell the next player to carve his way through the Braintree defence before shipping the ball on to the supporting Ashley Westall.

Westall was finally stopped five metres from the tryline but, as previously stated, there is no substitute for youthful pace and once again this was to prove the case: Mark Wedd speeding up in support and crashing over in the corner. Final score 31-20.

A second Merit Table defeat but a superb display of doggedness and refusal to lie down and die when the going gets tough from a squad with an average age of 19 (Mr Wedd obviously excluded) but we cannot continue to expect these young players to keep going away to play with a bare bones squad (this being the third week running where The Rams finished the match without a full compliment on the pitch).

This season we have got the largest influx of former Colt players for quite a few years. They are decent players who are hungry to play but they need the support of experienced players to guide them through their first season of senior Rugby. Anybody who fancies taking on that mantle can contact Gary on 07920499138.

Tries: Almond, Read, Wedd
Conversion: Clark (1)
Penalty: Clark (1)

Team list:
1. Mark Wedd
2. Mitchell Hodgkinson
3. Jack Christy
4. Connor Cranstone
5. Jamie Chapman
6. Dan Makepeace
7. Jack Byrne
8. Luke Hammond
9, Jake Watts
10. Chay Clark
11. Dean Read
12. Andre Riddell
13. Ashley Westall
14. Joe Tucker
15. Jack Almond

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