Rugby: Harlow suffer heavy defeat in atrocious conditions

Lifestyle / Tue 24th Nov 2015 at 11:48am

West Norfolk 41 v 12 Harlow
London & SE Div III NE

HARLOW had a big challenge on Saturday playing 2nd placed West Norfolk. Adding to the task were the atrocious weather conditions.

Harlow started the game playing into a 30m.p.h. wind and rain.

Harlow’s pack took early control driving the West Norfolk off the ball. Harlow knew that they needed to control the game up front as West Norfolk had a very fast and clinical back line.

Within the first 10 minutes Harlow’s challenge became greater as they lost scrum half Woodington & centre Ross Stalley to injuries although credit should go to Jake Kent Pope and Charlie Robinson who came on and acquitted themselves well.

West Norfolk ‘s back line made use of the wind on their backs and passed the ball through to their fast winger to out pass Harlow and get the first point’s on the score board after 12 minutes with a try converted for 7-0. A few minutes later the West Norfolk full back burst on to the ball scoring their 2nd try  converted for14-0

Harlow did not give up and their forwards continued their dominant display by driving the ball up into the WN half depriving them of possession, not allowing their fly half to use the wind to keep Harlow penned in their half. A last minute break by centre Ryan McGlone allowed him to through 2 tackles in the W Norfolk half only to be stopped 5 metres out with a crunching tackle.

Harlow with all their efforts against the conditions came off the field at half time to some extent disheartened. However they had played very well against the conditions in the first half and to turn around at half time only 12 points down were still in with a great chance. West Norfolk felt they should have built up a larger score and were asking themselves, “would a 14 point margin be enough!!”

Unfortunately for Harlow defensive errors handed W Norfolk 2 easy tries extending their lead to 26 -0, and a fifth try by West Norfolk sealed made the score 31-0.
Harlow’s forwards did not give up  and the front 5 provided the space for No.8 Claridge to go over for a converted try. 31-7 

A powering break by hooker Stonehouse gave Harlow their 2nd try taking the total to 31 – 12. It was a score which was probably a fair reflection on the game but 2 scores from W Norfolk gave a final score  41 – 12, a score that did not reflect Harlow’s hard effort.

Tries: Claridge, Stonehouse
Conversions: Smith

Harlow Team: 1James Ephgrave. 2. Danny Stonehouse, 3. Martin Cunningham, 4. Mark Twiner, 5. Kerry Palmer, 6. Shaun Roberts, 7.Mark Bowering, 8. Kain Clarridge, 9. Charlie Woodington, 10. Danny Smith, 11. Alasdair Phillips, 12.Ryan McGlone, 13. Ross Stalley, 14. Scott Whitby, 15. Francis Brown, 16. Peter Frost, 17.Charlie Robinson, 18. Jake Kent-Pope
All replacements used.

This result leaves Harlow in fourth place in the league. On the coming Saturday they meet Stevenange in the first round of the Cup and then in the two subsequent weeks they have home league encounters against fifth placed Lowesoft and Yaremouth and eighth placed Wanstead. If they are to stay within reach of the teams above the league matches become must win events.

Lee Harron writes “ Harlow were taught a harsh lesson of strong ball carrying and how to be clinical on Saturday. 
Harlow started very well putting considerable pressure on West Norfolk forcing turnovers and penalties at the breakdown and scrummage.
However, the loss of Woodington and Stalley within the first 5 mins made the task very difficult.  Although credit should go to Jake Kent Pope and Charlie Robinson who acquitted themselves well.
Any points in those conditions in the first half would have been worth double but Harlow failed to take any of the several gilt edged chances they created. 
Harlow had played very well in the first half and to turn around at half time only 12 points down they were still in with a great chance.
However, after the break Harlow made some poor individual decisions and began to fall off numerous tackles and were severely punished.
The score would suggest that Harlow were well beaten, but on the contrary Harlow dominated up front and in the tight taking several balls against the head at scrummage time and driving West Norfolk back time after time at the Lineout. However, when West Norfolk got the ball, very soft defence right across the pitch from Harlow allowed West Norfolk to get in behind Harlow who had no answer for West Norfolks clinical finishing. 
Across the board Harlow need to look at themselves and answer some honest questions if we are to progress as a team.  A greater attendance at training is required along with a lot of hard work and toughening up.  This will allow us to have a greater understanding of our game plan and put this into play on match day.  Plus practice on our ball skills that allows us to do the simple things well and become more clinical. But this is up to the players to decide what they want to do.” 

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