Rugby: Harlow reflect on season so far as they hit halfway point
Rugby / Sat 9th Dec 2023 at 10:47am
HARLOW have now reached the half-way point of the league fixtures and following is a brief round-up of their exploits so far.
Having swept everyone aside last season and reaching a Twickenham final, Harlow knew that the move to level 6 would be a huge leap. No more easy fixtures, no more 50 pointers and every game a test of their progress over the past 2/3 seasons.
Opposition who are battled hardened to the pace needed at this level, having acquired the fitness and stamina needed and who are used to winning at this level, and most with bigger squads, are now the order of the day.
The opening game against Chelmsford 64-15 was very satisfying but the next away win against league favourites, Eton Manor, 24-27, confirmed that Harlow really could compete at this level.
Wins followed against Saffron Waldon 49-33, Brentwood 33-29 and confidence was growing. The trip to Holt brought Harlow back to earth when despite scoring 4 tries they unexpectedly lost 31-34 to the last kick of the match.
What a September to remember; 4 wins from 5 and the huge scalps of Eton Manor and Brentwood.
October brought another 2 wins against Woodford 43-40 when things were evened up with Harlow winning with the last kick of the game and then Holt 26-48.
November saw Harlow come up against 2 of the big guns, Thurrock and Southend and both games were narrowly lost in the last quarter, 13-25 and 17-27. Harlow will rightly claim that they deserved at least bonus points in both these encounters but the rub of the green went against them. Norwich provided an easier test and it saw 5 tries being scored to register a 25-17 success.
The game against Dagenham was frozen off on Dec 2nd.
So seven wins from 10 games and fourth in the league, with a game in hand, is a statistic that coaches, players and supporters would have readily taken in pre-season August. However, the loss to Stowmarket will still smart.
December sees Harlow host Eton Manor; a major test; on the 9th. and then an away fixture to Saffron Walden on the 16th.
The team know that they can score tries and test all teams but if they are to maintain the excellent start to the season then the defence must be more robust and concede less. The forwards have been the mainstay of success so far with few packs able to match them up front but the backs must tighten up in defence and get back to scoring tries as they have done regularly in the past two seasons.
Harlow can now look forward to the second half of the season with the knowledge that they can compete with the best and certainly have the knowledge that they are more than comfortable at this level.