Proud performance from Harwich 2s
By Simon Woodley
Harwich 2nd XV show heart stepping up to EC1
Harwich and Dovercourt 2nd XV took to Low Road field on Saturday hosting Ipswich 2nd XV in the 2018/19 league opener. Having gained promotion to Eastern Counties Division One (Level 9 of English Rugby) the hosts were braced for a tough challenge in a season that sees them play in the equivalent league to the club's first team who compete in Essex Division One (also Level 9).
Ipswich arrived with a big physical and well organised side, many on the sidelines feared a cricket score. The visitors cut through the home defense after just 5 minutes moving the ball well through the hands and crashing over the line. Harwich had 2 choices, roll over and accept a drubbing, or front up and match the challenge. They chose the latter!
Tightening up in defence and starting to attack with menace the hosts worked their way into the game. The forwards worked hard to secure the ball at the ruck drawing in defenders to start to create gaps. Fly half Ben Gale found a hole big enough for him to exploit, turning on the gas he raced through under the posts to equal the score at 7-7.
The game was pretty even at this point with both teams throwing everything at each other with no way through. The visitors finally forced their way over to score. Once again this spurred Harwich back into action attacking down the left of the field. With quick ball secured the backs moved it quickly across the field to winger Adam Palmer who beat his opposite number with pace on the outside to score in the corner. A fantastic conversion kick from the touchline by Ryan Boyne evened the score at 14-14 as the half time break approached.
The second half continued to be a tight affair with Harwich producing some excellent defence! Ipswich had began to increase the intensity with quick offloaded passes and some great link-up play. After 65 minutes the game was sat at 14-21 with all to play for. However Harwich were then reduced to 14 men for the remainder of the game due to a new league regulation. The hosts didn't have any front row replacements available, new league regulations state that a team cannot replace an injured front row player if they don't have a suitably trained replacement. Therefore the game went to uncontested scrums and Harwich had to finish the game a player down. With a 1 man advantage well-organised Ipswich started to find gaps with ease. Harwich continued to defend with heart and put their bodies on the line, doing well to keep the final score to Harwich 14, Ipswich 40. All in all a positive start to life in a higher league.
Second team captain Dave Warren said "I'm really proud of the boys who fronted up and showed that they can mix it at the higher level. We knew it was going to be a tough test and I'm really impressed with how the boys have adapted!"
Harwich 2nd XV host Hadleigh at Low road next Saturday 15th September, 3pm kick off.