Thurrock 71 v 5 Eton Manor
Despite Thurrock missing a few players in key positions at the weekend, they still managed to completely outclass their opposition in a fine display of total rugby that included 11 tries and 8 conversions. Although to their credit, the visitors never gave up the battle until the final whistle blew.
As the previous week it was skipper Damian Burns that was first on the scoresheet, following some early pressure on the visitors scrum released the backline to cut through the defence. Despite the final score, the early phases of play were quite equal and Eton Manor set about Thurrock’s defence with some fine attacking of their own. However, it was second row Reece Cunningham that stretched Thurrock’s early lead with a fine try and Aaron Burns adding the conversion.
The restart once again proved to be Thurrock’s achilles heel and the visitors pounced to regain possession. With wave after wave of crash ball close to the ruck, Thurrock’s defence finally gave way after a bullocking run from Tighthead Prop Mike Jarvis simply brushed poor tacklers to one side. Sensing that they now had a game on their hands, Thurrock went about their business with renewed vigour and following some crunching tackling the ball was turned over for Luke Crowhurst to drive over, with Burns adding the 2 points.
With the Eton Manor forwards under pressure in the set pieces, Thurrock took yet another scrum against the head and scrum half Burns made a chip and chase, forcing the defence to carry the ball over and ground it for a 5 metre scrum. From the scrum, Number 8 Adisuan Leebumrung pirouetted over to extend the lead, with Aaron Burns also converting.
The final try of the first half came again from skipper Damian Burns, who was on fine form, with younger sibling Aaron Burns adding the 2 points. With the score at 33-5 at half time it was to Thurrock’s credit that they did not let up and, despite the blustery conditions, the line out continued to work well, providing the Thurrock backline with early phase ball which allowed the game to open up. Ellis Goldsmith’s boot also did not disappoint with superb kicking that consistently found touch. The visitors, denied of any quality ball, soon found themselves defending constantly.
With Keefe and Warren’s aggressive counter-rucking and ability to turn opposition ball over, it wasn’t long before Winger Kazim Pehlivan glided over for the first score of the second half. Powerhouse centre Ricky Love was the next to crash over the line, with Burns adding the conversion.
Young talent Dean Cheung had no sooner come on the pitch as replacement than he found himself dancing around the defence to speed over between the posts with a fine individual try, once again converted by Burns. The introduction of Mitchell Greatorex had almost identical results with the Centre dummying his way through the defence for a well worked try. It was with relief that Danny Cousins finally got to cross the line for a try as two previous opportunities had been adjudged forward passes by the referee.
It was almost third time lucky as Thurrock replacement Rob Scott came on and immediately got involved, diving with the ball, for what he thought was the line, only to find himself on the 5 metre line and just about everybody, on and off the field of play, laughing at him! However, the final say of the match went to deserving Back Row Lee Herrington, who had worked hard all afternoon.
Thurrock 14 v 5 Rochford
Thurrock got back into winnings ways this week against a strong Rochford side. Again the side was depleted due to injury and unavailabilty, but did very well, considering a few players playing out of position and one player making his debut after several years out of rugby altogether!
Thurrock won the toss and elected to play up the slope and against the wind. Thurrock had to defend well all half against a very determined Rochford side, with Paul Barton making several incisive breaks into the oposition half and debut centre Daren Sommerville tackling well, but Thurrock turned round and 0 – 0 at half time.
If Thurrock thought they would have it all their own way in the second half, down hill and with the wind, they were very much mistaken. Rochford produced numerous attacks down their right wing and nearly scored on several occasions. However, the Thurrock defence stood the test. With play generally in Thurrock’s favour, centre Paul Barton finally broke the Rochford defence, going through unopposed under the posts. Full back Micky Simmonds duly converted.
Rochford then produced their best attacks of the half, which finally resulted in a well taken try. However, they failed to convert it against the wind. Thurrock again rallied and, after a beautiful chip through from fly half Spike Adams into space, wing Jim Hall managed to sqeeze over the line in a very well deserved try. Micky Simmonds again converted to seal the game and the league points for Thurrock 14 – 5.
Thurrock IV ‘s travel away to Maldon II and team next week, where they will again be tested to their limits.