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Rugby: Harlow take honours in local derby

Rugby / Wed 15th Nov 2017 at 04:49pm

Upper Clapton

HARLOW TAKES HONOURS IN SEASON’S FIRST LOCAL DERBY

HARLOW RFC 21 V 13 EPPING UPPER CLAPTON RFC

EUCRFC are developing some bad habits! Slow starts to games are costing them dearly. A large good natured crowd greeted both teams at Harlow’s impressive home at Latton Park which eventually saw the home side hang on for a deserved victory.

For the third time in a row, Clapton were slow to get in to their stride and 2 periods with players in the sin bin allowed Harlow to get an early foothold in the game. By half time Harlow had scored three converted tries and at 21-6 it had left a too large a deficit for Clapton to overhaul.
Harlow started well, they enjoyed long periods of possession and it was their domination of the loose play that eventually was to be the difference between the 2 teams. As the game progressed, Clapton enjoyed ascendancy at the scrum, there was parity in the lineout but the loose contests and turnovers were going to prove vital to the final result. Harlow’s aim initially was to get the ball out wide whilst Clapton looked to plough a furrow up the middle.

Clapton had lost talisman Reynolds to the sin bin when the home side exploited their numerical advantage after 6 minutes and they crossed again shortly afterwards. A further Clapton visit to the sin bin and an uncustomary period of poor defence were to allow Harlow more opportunities. They completed their scoring just before half time when a line out from a penalty led to a peel and drive over the try line. In between the home side’s scoring; Mitch Dins had kicked 2 penalty goals for EUCRFC. It was in fact 25 minutes before Clapton had had a cohesive attack, spilling the final pass as the line beckoned. Unfortunately this was not to be the only time this happened and was the portents for the action in the second half.

Clapton knew they had to get into their stride early in the second period. Jones, Barker and Reynolds were making inroads in midfield, looking for the support of Matthews and his fellow back rowers. It was this combination with Matthews crossing that secured EUCRFC’s converted try after 6 minutes and was to be their main attacking force for the remainder of the game. On at least 2 occasions, Clapton spilled the ball with the try line in front of them. Harlow too had chances although spent a lot of the period on the back foot.

With 10 minutes to play bonus points were the focus, Harlow needed a try to add to their tally, Clapton a point to get some reward for their comeback. As it happened neither side quite managed to secure one but it was a thrilling conclusion to a highly competitive and combative game of rugby. The teams will meet again in March for the return fixture, both confident there will be opportunities to succeed.

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