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Rugby: Harlow leapfrog Woodford after victory to move up to third

Rugby / Tue 30th Jan 2024 at 09:15am

Woodford 21 v 42 Harlow

THE Reds travelled to Woodford knowing that a win would push them up the league and they duly delivered. Woodford dominated the first 10 minutes but some great defence kept them out. With more pressure coming from the forwards, especially at scrum time, and telling runs from Sam Bucknall and captain Jack Elson  along came the inevitable scores. 

Danny Smith made some telling breaks and a five meter scrum resulted in a push over try scored by Brad Etherington to open the scoring.  Not to be outdone the backs now entered the fray and tries followed from Liam Batty, Dale Stalley and Casey Teague with Liam Batty converting all four for Harlow to show a healthy 28-0 half-time lead with the bonus point already secured. 

If Harlow thought this would lead to a rout Woodford certainly had other ideas. A very spirited come back began with an early second half try to take the score to 28-7 was followed  by a period of sustained pressure from the home side.

Many supporters began to think about déjà vu since in the earlier home fixture Harlow had fought back from a 35-7 half-time deficit to eventually win 45-42 with the last kick of the match.

It was obvious that the Reds needed to raise their game and this they did when sustained pressure allowed the ever-present Will Garner to crash over. Batty kept up his 100% kick record to convert. This give way to a more eager and positive push from Harlow and it was a great kick and chase pickup that allowed Liam Batty to score his second and his sides sixth try.  Harlow took their foot off the accelerator knowing that the win was in the bag and plucky Woodford again came back with their own converted try to take the  score to 21-42. 

This proved to be the final score with stout defence keeping out Woodford for the final minutes of the game and stopping them getting their own bonus point. Players and coaches can be very pleased with this all -round performance but will note that they should have scored more tries and with better distributing with the line beckoning would  surely have done. There were also some late missed tackles which helped Woodford to their last two tries but coaches Ian Rundall and Michael Weston will surely work on that in the training sessions this week.

On Saturday Feb 3 Harlow entertain Holt at home looking for their fourth double of the season and their eighth successive win.

All are welcome to savour the excellent rugby being played and to sample the cordial hospitality always on offer at Latton Park.

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