IN CLEAR, yet very blustery conditions, Thurrock 4ths elected to start against the wind, with the theory of enjoying it in the second half. Unfortunately Wanstead II 2nds were unable to field a front row and so scrums were uncontested from the start. Both teams started well, but it was Wanstead, with their pacey young backs, who scored first.
Missed tackles led to the breakthrough, with the winger scoring wide out. Centre Kev Polley then had to leave the field due to a pulled hamstring and Cris James took over. It was a similar story of missed tackles some 10 minutes later when Wansted scored again. Both tries went unconverted. Thurrock began making considerable inroads into the Wansted half, led by Tony Millsom at No 8. It was then that Thurrock struck back.
Jack Hatton broke wide down the blind side of a maul some 30 metres out, fed to Danny Kearney, who rode several tackles before releasing captain Dave Graham to score. Thurrock then struck again. From a line out some 35 metres out, the Thurrock pack drove over the visitors line, with Jack Hatton claiming the score. This was a great forward effort all round. Both conversions were missed. Thurrock turned around 10 all at half time, a fair relection of the game.
The second half was much the same, with Thurrock playing behind a decreasing wind. Play flowed to and fro for long periods of time, with neither team gaining the advantage. Full back Micky Simmonds was having the game of his life, fielding everything Wansted threw at him, the day before his 50th birthday.
However, missed tackles eventually allowed the opposition centre to score, but this time it was under the posts and it was duly converted. This proved vital in the long run. Thurrocks powerful forwards then took some control and, after a steal by Liam Walsh from a line out in the oppositions 22, fly half Luke Cotter smashed his way over the line for an individual score.
Unfortunately the score was not converted, thus Thurrock again lost a well contested game, the final score running out at 15 – 17. Thurrock did feel agrieved that the opposition turned up without a front row. If Thurrock could have used their big powerful pack in the scrum who knows?! Even the Wansted coach coach believed Thurrock would have beaten them easily?!