Rugby: Harlow weather conditions to put Daggers to the sword
General / Tue 13th Feb 2024 at 08:19am
Dagenham 14 v 35 Harlow
DUE to a waterlogged pitch Harlow switched this already twice cancelled game to the all -weather pitch at Eton Manor RFC.
Dagenham like Harlow were promoted to this Anglia Regional 2 league last season and although not having as much success as the Reds are nonetheless not a side to be underestimated. Indeed, their pack was certainly the heaviest and largest they have faced this season.
Sustained pressure eventually paid off after 10 minutes when the ball was passed through many pairs of hands for Casey Teague to finish off the move with a well taken try. Liam Batty duly converted from far out on the right hand touch line.. Dagenham then exerted their own pressure after two lineout mistakes from Harlow allowed them into the reds 22m area. Several lineouts and then prolonged rucks for a much deserved try. It was obvious that should Dagenham get close to Harlow’s line then they would pose a huge threat through their gigantic pack.
Tries from captain Jack Elson and speedy winger Dale Stalley then followed, both converted by the dependable Batty allowed Harlow to relieve pressure and go in at half time 21-7 to the better.
If the Reds thought that this was to be the start of their usual dominance, Dagenham had other ideas and scored a very well-orchestrated try to bring back the deficit to 7 points.
Injuries halted progress and momentum for both sides. Harlow lost both wingers whilst Dagenham lost two forwards. Montelle Levy was a more than adequate replacement whilst Luke Bowering did not look out of place on the other wing.
Harlow decided that to win this game they needed to play a speedier game and move the big, but tiring, Dagenham pack around the park . This tactic, aided by the now very tired opposing forwards, resulted in two further converted tries from Montelle Levy and Brad Etherington. Harlow finished well deserved winners 35-14.
Mission achieved with a bonus point win and both team and coaches will be pleased with the result but in truth this was a below par performance where the Reds seemingly rarely moved out of first gear, although perhaps they didn’t need to. However it is the mark of a good, confident and successful team that they never panicked and rarely looked in danger of letting Dagenham take a strangle hold on the game.
Next Saturday Harlow travel to Thurrock with the intention of reversing the earlier loss at Latton Park. Thurrock are a very strong team and have been near the top of this league for several years. Eight consecutive wins and 14 from 17 however, will surely boost their confidence, and a return to their “A game “and now firmly established game plan of 15 man attacking rugby will help in their pursuit of further success.