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Rugby: Harlow Under-16s learn lessons in pre-season friendly at Thurrock

Rugby / Mon 13th Sep 2021 at 07:39am

HARLOW travelled to Thurrock after the longest off season on record with our last game against Old Brentwood’s back in March 2020.

Long awaited debuts today for Matt MacFarlane, Kai Young, Atakan Alagoz, Griffin Clark and also really Gabe Greaves returning after a four-year sabbatical who had all joined us/re-joined us since we last played.

A warm morning today and coaches and the referee agreed to play two halves with a break for water and reorganisation midway through each half.

Despite a promising start with Harlow on the attack Thurrock were able to clear their lines with the newly introduced goal line drop out. As play progressed into the Harlow half Thurrock were able to pick ang go until Harlow ran out of defenders and kick of the scoring 5-0.

This didn’t last long as Harlow regained control of the game. From a penalty Harlow kicked for the corner, won the line out and drove with Danny Billington busting through and Ben Ferrier picking and driving through to touch down. All square 5-5.

The next try was possibly the best try you will see from a youth team for some time. The Harlow team most of the Thurrock team to the right-hand side of the pitch with firstly a backs move and they supporting charging play from the forwards. As the play switched fly half Joseph Pankhurst kicked cross field for Montelle Levy to catch cleanly out wide on the left. Accelerates, Step, and a show and later and Montelle touched down under the posts. This was the sort of try you see on Sky/BT Sports!  It was a treat to behold and applause from spectators from both sides around the pitch. Joseph Pankhurst converted to take us to 5-12.

Cue the first water break with Harlow changing their entire front row and Brandon Jackson into the second row.

Harlow remained on top through this period but weren’t quite able to add to their score. Tobie Westbrook took one to the knackers and was replaced by Griffin Clark.

Half time 5 – 12.

Harlow’s pressure continued with their scrum dominating possession on both their own and Thurrock’s put in. Our forward play was great all morning with Ed Lea getting his normal jackal success, and Alfie Dutnall adding his own turn overs to Harlow’s break down success.

Given the option we opted to kick a penalty to take the score to a two-score difference. Joseph Pankhurst slotted taking the score to 5-15.

Corey Kelman returned to the field giving Ed Lea a rest

Harlow were in control but seemed to see them start to take the foot of the gas. Leading into the second half water break.

The front row changes in the first half were reversed with Gabe Greaves, Danny Billington and Felix Waugh returning to the field and Ed coming.

A period of concentration loss occurred with a decision to play from our own half. A good tackle from Thurrock dislodged the ball as it was passed and picked up by a Thurrock player. Montelle stopped a certain try only for Harlow to run out of short side defenders and Thurrock to touch down a fortuitous score which they then converted. 17-15.

This fortune buoyed Thurrock and from the kick off took advantage of a lazy defensive kick chase. The Thurrock player found space to be caught by Ben Ferrier and then get a pass away to their winger who touched down  a converted try. 25-15.  Tobie Westbrooks knackers had recovered and he returned to the field replacing Griffin Clark who has stood in out of position at full back admirably.

Harlow were not done and some fierce drives from Harlow took them closer and closer to the line. Felix Waugh coming round the corner beautifully to take a number of Thurrock defenders with him. Switching the play for Kai Young to touch down 25-20.

With time on the clock for one more play Harlow knew they needed to catch the ball, keep it alive and play the way they had been playing.  The kick was long and bounced only for a Thurrock player to bizarrely touch it down. 30-20.

Harlow had most of the play in this game today and will wonder how this game slipped away, but there were many more positives than negatives. A loss of concentration in the latter part of the game is something to add to the list of things to enjoy working on in the coming weeks.

Final Score 30 –20.

Next week Harlow Under 16s take on Braintree away in their first league game of their season. 10am meet 11am kick off. Details to follow in the week.

Tries: Ben Ferrier, Montelle Levy, Kai Young
Conversions: Joseph Pankhurst
Penalties: 
Joseph Pankhurst
Referee:  From Thurrock

Team
1. Gabe Greaves, 2. Danny Billington, 3. Felix Waugh, 4. Ed Lea, 5. Corey Kelman, 6. Alfie Dutnall, 7. Matt Macfarlane, 8. Ben Ferrier, 9. Jack Rushworth, 10. Joseph Pankhurst, 11. Montelle Levy, 12. Jamie Oliver, 13. Henry Stovell, 14. Kai Young, 15. Tobie Westbrook, 16. Joseph Williams, 17. Charlie Jacques, 18 Atakan Alagoz, 19. Brandon Jackson, 20. Griffin Clark

All players played half a game or more.

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