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Rugby: Harlow’s unbeaten run continues (but it was a tough first half)

Rugby / Tue 1st Nov 2022 am30 09:44am

IF Harlow ever thought that their previous six wins in the league would be enough to ensure another at Wanstead on Saturday then they were quickly brought back to earth and reality.

A penalty from Danny Smith and a converted Tom Garner try saw them go into a 10 point lead within 12 minutes but their usual scrum dominance was really put to the test.

A well drilled opposing pack supplied good possession for a speedy back line and Wanstead deservedly scored two tries and converted one to go 12-10 up with half time approaching. Danny Smith scored a second penalty to allow Harlow the slenderest of half time leads 12-13.

It was obvious that to win the game Harlow would need to continue with their resolute defence and make good use of possession that came their way. Lineouts were a good source of possession from Will Garner and Jack Elston but scrum and maul possession was sparce through a combination of great play by the Wanstead pack and an inability to please the referee especially at scrum and rolling mauls.

Wanstead scored an early penalty to take the lead 15-13 and things began to look ominous. Wanstead pushed hard and encamped on the Harlow line on three seperate occasions but resolute and brave defence thwarted their attempts to go further into the lead.

In fact it was from one of these attacks that Joel Drake put in a thunderous tackle on their right winger who looked the favourite to score and this proved to be the turning point. Harlow raised their game considerably and played with much more heart, confidence and momentum. A try by the ever- present Ryan Clark regained the lead 15-18.

Some changes to the front row and pack brought back scrum parity and with 15 minutes to go it was all Harlow. Further tries came from great inter passing between forwards and backs alike.  

Tom Garner (2), Harry Mansini and Josh Drake took the final score to 15-40.

The character of the whole squad showed through in this keenly contested game since it was a superb professional effort from all 18 players digging deep and rescuing a precarious looking position. Six tries, another bonus point win makes it look rather rosy, but Harlow are under no illusions that it will be an easy ride for this league campaign.

When you are league leaders scoring on average 50 points per game and winning 7 from 7 all opposition sides bring out their best. It is this intensity from opposition sides and the style of play that Harlow display that make viewing such good value and satisfying. 

Saturday at Latton Park sees the return of Old Cooperians who managed to narrowly win this fixture last season. Certainly the home side will not be complacent but have the confidence that they can dig deep and compete against all teams in the league. 

 Kick off is at 1430 and all are welcome.

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