Harwich Vets ran out for the first time on Saturday 21st April at a charity event at Coopers School in Upminster….the competition looked strong with Thurrock, Rochford , Maldon and Barking all sending teams to the event.
Paul Sewell led the band of merry men into a long hot day in what turned out to be a meteoric debut on the Vets circuit. All teams playing each other in a 10*10 format of 15 per side. First up for Harwich was a strong looking Barking side who had the look of winners from the off – well they warmed up and did not partake in the pre match Ice creams that the Harwich boys did. A very tough 20 minutes saw Barking win well but Harwich did manage to score through Namani and some decent defence from a the back 3 of George White, Dave Warren and Dave Steer kept the score respectable.
Harwich did have an issue as they had no recognised 9 – so over the course of the day this job was shared and handled expertly by Clark Simpson, Paul Sewell and Sandy Sander Crook – and not a better set of scrum half’s you could wish to play with. Harwich stepped up in the 2nd fixture against Rochford with Joe Francis (player of the day) rolling back the years and pulling the strings from 10 enabling Harwich to run out comfortable winners coring 6 tries to 2 over the 20 minutes – scorers were 3 for Dave Warren, Rob Kemp, Dan Johnson and another from Namani. In the 3rd game Harwich faced a determined Maldon team in the most competitive game of the day. Scores were traded back and forth with Joe ‘the intercept king’ Francis keeping Harwich just out of range, some heroic last ditch defending (some may say cynical) from the Harwich pack enabled the boys to run out 33-24 winners over a very frustrated Maldon outfit, scorers in this game 3 for Francis, George White and Dave Warren..
The highlights of the day came in game four when Harwich played Thurrock. There was special moment for Jim Hayter (DOR Harwich and ex Thurrock player) romping over from 2 feet and a special moment for all the team seeing Paul Sewell sprint in from his own half – he was looking around hopefully for support from 40 out but saw the entire team standing and applauding his solo effort from 60 yards – has a man ever looked more furious ! The team played very well in this match with additional scores from Richard Miller, Dave Warren , Dan Johnson, Lee Durrant and another from Joe Francis seeing the team round off a successful day where the team placed 2nd and picked up a piece of silverware.
Skipper Sewell said ‘ I could not be more proud of the boys, I mean look at them tucking into the Pimm’s and Cupcakes, athletes at the peak of their powers, the lot of them’
Post-match celebrations included an early night for all followed by ridiculous aching bodies for all the following morning. A great event hosted for a good cause by Coopers school with rugby played in the right spirit – the boys are already in training for next year’s event.
Clarke Simpson, Andy Page, Sandy Sander-Crook, Richard Woods, Mike Cowley, Lee Durrant, Rob Kemp, Richard Miller, Paul Sewell, Joe Francis, Dave Warren, Dan Johnson, Namani, George White, Dave Steer, Jim Hayter, Cameron Griggs (**)