Rugby: Harlow move to second in table with nine wins in a row

Football / Tue 20th Feb 2024 at 08:18am

HARLOW’S ninth successive win at Thurrock moved them into second place in the Anglia Regional 2 league, leapfrogging Eton Manor who lost to Southend on Saturday.

In a highly-paced game from both sides, Harlow got on the front foot quickly after some great inter-passing and driving allowed Sam Bucknall to muscle his way over for a fine try. Liam Batty duly converted.

Thurrock quickly fought their way back into the Harlow 22 and from a lineout drive and several rucks scored their own well rehearsed try to even the scores. 

Photos courtesy of Liam Kerrigan

The home team was unable to defend their own scrum near their line and the magnificent Red pack secured a penalty try after Thurrock pulled down the unstoppable Harlow drive. Batty again supplied the extra points.

A seemingly innocuous kick down the right wing bounced one way and then the other before the Thurrock left wing, unable to believe his luck, was gifted with a run in try.

It was now 14-14 and Harlow knew they were in a tight game. Four tries scored in 15 minutes with no let- up in the pace of the game. 

And so it proved when sustained pressure from the home side allowed them to take the lead 17-14 with a deserved penalty.

Possession is the key to winning and Harlow had little of the ball during the next 10 minutes. They needed to regroup and dig deep.

This they did and with the knowledge that they could score when in the right areas of the field they found the energy to get into the danger areas. 

Quick thinking saw Dave Archer run a short penalty and send Danny Smith to get to within inches of the line. Unable to score himself, Smithy deftly off-loaded to the ever present Etherington. Batty again kicked the extra and another try quickly followed. 

A great jinking break from Ross Stalley and some great interplay between backs and forwards saw Ben Creasey run in for another trade mark try under the posts for Batty to convert and take the half time score to 17-28.

This encouraging first half lead, with a bonus point already in the bag, meant Harlow began the second half on the front foot. It was now the Reds who were dominating possession and with strong running from Louis Castiglione, Sam Bucknall, Will Garner, and captain Jack Elston ably supported by backs Batty, Stalley and Nnochini,  Harlow mounted attack after attack deep in the opposition’s half.

A charge down attempted clearance saw Etherington get his inevitable second try and the teams fifth.

Thurrock tried to get themselves back into the game but sturdy defence from the whole team prevented any meaningful attacks developing. Following a long break due to an injury Etherington got his third from another great scrum and few defences are unable to stop Brad from four metres out.

40-17 but Harlow were far from finished and once again Thurrock could not stop the impressive Brad Etherington who scored his barnstorming fourth try.

With time running out and both teams getting tired, which was to be expected in such a to and fro highly paced game, Thurrock scored their own consolation try but the Reds finished the game with a Danny Smith penalty to win with the healthy score line of 24-48. 

Any number of players could have carried off the “man of the match award”, Luke Bowering for his ever present tackling and jackling performance, Sam Bucknall for his many telling drives, Adam Nnochini for his powerful runs and Ross Stalley for his all round work rate in the centre but with four tries nobody could deny that Brad Etherington rightly deserved it.

Harlow now have a week off to prepare for the visit of league leaders, Southend, on March 2nd.  The visitors will bring a strong all round game plan but Harlow will not be phased since they only narrowly lost in the away fixture and are on a high after 15 from 18 wins.

Reds will hope to be able to choose from a fully fit and available squad.

This top of the table match is not to be missed and all are welcome to Latton Park to support the Reds.

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1 Comment for Rugby: Harlow move to second in table with nine wins in a row:

Mr Alan price
2024-02-20 09:31:05

Slight error. Headline should read nine wins onnsuccession.

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