Cantabs 32-10 Harlow
With El Presidente enjoying himself in Hooters Las Vegas, gambling to try and raise money for more rugby balls lost to the railway line Mick entrusted the injured Jon Lineham with the match report.
Not a bad effort for a Prop...
Coming off the back of a big win against Upminster, Cantabs were looking to solidify their top 2 position as West Norfolk and Harlow are pushing hard for the promotion place. Harlow came to Sedley Taylor road having drawn with league leaders Sudbury and with Cantabs having lost to The Essex side in the reverse fixture the mighty Cs were expecting a tough contest.
With the sun peeking through the clouds Cantabs kicked off into a blustery wind. The early period of the match saw a territorial battle with both teams trying to settle in. With good kicking from both sides backed up by some big carries and defence the game began to settle down. And despite some loose handling it was Cantabs that started fastest with some hard runs from Shed and Finn Morrison backed up by quick clearouts giving Isaia and Charlie space to break down the left hand side. Some slick hands saw us moving into the opposition 22 but Harlow were deemed to have slowed ball down illegally, penalty Cs. Dave kicked into the corner, maul from the lineout pushed over with Pete Collins managing to hold onto the ball to take all the glory over the line, Dave Reed converting the extra points.
Harlow responded to this early score with a period of pressure with some tactical kicking taking play into the Cs half. Despite strong runs from the Harlow pack the home team gave no ground and the physicality in defence paid off taking play back into Harlow territory. Harlow looked to attack but some fierce counter-rucking lead by Shed and Seb saw a Cantabs penalty in the middle of the pitch. Cantabs opted for the kick but it drifted wide of the posts.
Harlow came with a big athletic pack but it was the Cantabs forwards that had the upper hand, backed up by good line speed from the backs. For the first time in the match Cantabs got a shove on in the scrum releasing Dave Bloxsom down the left wing where he was unfortunately shepherded into touch. Harlow maintained possession for large periods of the game but were running into a blue and white brick wall with only the boot of the fly half allowing them into Cantabs territory. With the Cs too eager to put the next big hit in they were caught offside and Harlow took the points on offer to move the score to 7-3.
Some good disruption in the rucks from Rich Ford gave Cantabs a kickable penalty and Dave 'I've only missed twice' Reed got the points, 10-3. Harlow now looked to have the wind in their sails and Cantabs found themselves back in their own 22 facing the now harder running Harlow Pack. Now on the front foot Harlow pressed onwards now managing to break through the first up tackles and it was the 15 that benefited with a nice line taking him under the posts; 10-10.
With the half coming to a close Seb played a nice kick and chase to take Cantabs into Harlow territory and force the penalty to end the half. Cantabs moved back into the lead, 13-10.
Both teams came out firing in the second half with play mostly in the midfield with neither team making the break through until some good Cantabs defence forced a Harlow knock on. From the resulting scrum Nick was released down the right and after a quick recycle Perksy broke through the first tackle before offloading to Josh Schmidt who went under the posts with try converted 20-10.
The game settled into a low patch after the try with neither team really getting going again but once again a dominant scrum from Cantabs released Bloxsom down the right wing to move play into the
Harlow 22. With the Cantabs defence pushing up hard the Harlow backs were forced into a few errors before the post protector (fresh off the back of a stunning performance in the millennium stadium) made a big hit on a Harlow player and despite the appearance of no arms in the tackle the ref waved play on and Harlow cleared their line. From the resulting lineout Sami made a searing break through the middle of the pitch before offloading to Nick Denham who but David Bloxsom over in the corner.
At this point Mick used his bench with Jonny Regan, Charlie and Dan being replaced by Harri, Tom and Ben. The Cs defence remained resolute with big hits forcing another turnover leading to a good break from Perksy ably supported by Ben James. This lead to a penalty which was kicked to the corner. Unfortunately the lineout was lost and with it a chance to put Harlow under pressure. Harlow cleared their line straight down the throat of Bloxsom who ran past 3 players before some quick hands saw Ben James go over in the Corner. Dave Reed couldn't quite get the ball over the posts so the score remained 32-10.
With the game approaching full time Cantabs began to show that Tuesday night fitness had been paying off with some good counter rucking and line speed in defence shutting down the Harlow reply. Cantabs regained possession and moved the ball into the Harlow 22. With a Cantabs lineout on the 5m line the C's set the maul once again taking Pete over the line in an armchair. However this time the Ref deemed that Pete had held himself up over the line. Despite some good pressure from the resulting scrum Cantabs couldn't get over the line. The game finished with some good attacking play from Harlow but once again the Cantabs defence was too strong.
An impressive scoreline against a very good Harlow side, C's were clinical in attack and resolute in defence. Next week we travel to Old Brentwood's were we will need to keep focused in the push for promotion.
Final Score 32-10.
MoM: Dave Reed bossed the game well from 10 and kicked well ball in hand, while both Shed and Seb put in a huge shift round the pitch making a nuisance of themselves in defence and carrying hard in attack. But this week it goes to the centre pairing of Finn Morrison and Sami, always leading the line in defence and attacking with venom that has been missing in recent weeks.