H&D U15s gain hard earned win
By Simon Woodley
Harwich & Dovercourt edge Haverhill on a very cold and windy morning at Low Road.
Harwich & Dovercourt U15s have had an interesting season to date. Player numbers have been up and down, but a core group have now been joined by some new recruits and this was their first chance to play as a team. Haverhill in a similar situation travelled despite having a number of players out through injury and two H&D volunteers, brothers Floyd and Ozzy Barker willingly stepped up to play for the visitors.
On what was a bitter morning weather-wise H&D started brightly and dominated field position during the initial stages. However Haverhill were the first team to make it on to the scoresheet, getting on the outside of the Harwich defence which was still adjusting in to the game and too narrow, Haverhill made a good break to touch down in the corner. This left a tough conversion which wasn't successful.
Harwich then worked their way back up the pitch with a series of strong runs, culminating in a try for debutant second row Harrison Mann, crashing over to draw level. Again a difficult kick wasn't converted.
Haverhill struck back with another try to make the score 5-10 and despite excellent pressure by Harwich on the Haverhill try line they couldn't add to their score before half time.
Haverhill picked up the first points of the second half choosing to kick 3 points in front of the posts and Harwich were looking down the barrel at this point. Heads never went down though and there was no sign of panic, just a willingness to work hard and strike back.
Harwich had been guilty of using one-off runners at times and knew that if they were going to get back in to the match they had to start using the ball and the available space. This they duly did, hitting a great line through the middle, they won good ruck ball and played through a number of hands before Joe Taylor carved through to score under the posts. With the kick in front the extra 2 points were added and it was game on.
Buoyed by the try H&D kicked on and another series of strong runs and inter-passing saw Taylor Warner run a great support line and through the hole in the Haverhill defence to put H&D in to the lead for the first time in the match. With the kick in front again Joe Taylor stepped up to take the score to 19-13.
Harwich continued to play good running rugby and at one point almost re-enacted France's great try from behind the posts, riskily choosing to attack from their own dead ball area, they went through several hands and were just on the edge of the Haverhill twenty-two before the move broke down.
Haverhill weren't finished though, the Barker brothers were causing all sorts of trouble and came close to scoring, and Harwich were having to defend wave after wave of attack with the clock seeming to run and run. Finally from the last play of the game Haverhill won good scrum ball, choosing to go to the short side they powered over to bring the result down to the final kick of the match. But by going that way the kick was tough and although it was sweetly struck it kept to the right of the post, to the relief of the watching Harwich team and coaches.
This was a really good performance from what is effectively a new side playing together for the first time. The forwards, Tyler Beezley, George Webb, Jack Huggett, Harrison Mann, Richard Hill, Taylor Warner, Lloyd Hamblion and Ryan Pitham, all worked tirelessly and scrummaged really well, securing our ball and also turning over the opposition ball on several occasions. The back line of Charlie Cockburn, Cameron Clark, Thomas Palmer, Tom Humphris, Jack Brown, Phillip Sebastian and Joe Taylor, might not have seen as much ball as they would have liked in attack, but when they did they looked threatening and were well organised in defence. Floyd Barker and Ozzy Barker drew lots of praise from the Haverhill and Harwich coaches for the way they played and represented Harwich brilliantly while wearing their Haverhill shirts.
There's nothing but positives to take from the game and every player was excellent. The attitude and potential in this team is outstanding, well done guys it was a pleasure to watch.
A big thank you to Haverhill for travelling over and giving us such a close fought game that was played in great spirit.