THURROCK’S success at the weekend was due to a combination of free flowing rugby and resolute defending against a very strong, mobile Woodford side.
As with much of the league opposition that the Thurrock 2nd stream face in their league, Woodford’s first string play a league above Thurrock’s, which generally results in a step up in the level and pace of the game.
The encounter at Woodford earlier in the season had seen them overturn an early 19-5 Thurrock lead to snatch the victory by two points with the last kick of the game. However, from the kick off it was Thurrock that stamped their authority early on in the game, which some exceptional forward and back interplay.
First on the score sheet was centre Ricky Love, resulting from the forwards crashing the ball up the middle and sucking in the defence, to then first spin the ball wide one way and then back across the park for the veteran centre to force a way through the flailing Woodford defence. Madden adding the conversion.
Despite the visitors poor lineout, they managed to regain possession and maul Thurrock back over their own line for a twenty metre drive and a well deserved five pointer. With Thurrock holding on to a narrow lead as they began the second half, they soon extended the lead with another excellent combined forwards and backs effort, to see Winger Danny Cousins cruise out wide to outclass his opposite number.
But it was to Woodford’s credit that they never stopped battling and following some strong running, and with the home side reduced to 14 men following a yellow card offence, the pressure told and a penalty was awarded. Through ill-discipline the home side gave away another ten yards, and with the visitors only five metres out they span the ball out wide for a well earned try. In the last minutes of the game, Thurrock dug deep and defended with all their hearts but, once again, an infringement saw Woodford awarded a penalty in front of the posts which, if converted, would have given them the game.
The pressure obviously told and the kick was missed. To guarantee the win, all Thurrock had to do was retain the ball and, following another sound line-out, that is exactly what they did. A superb even battle to the last.