Thurrock 4th team were up against it from the start playing away to Upper Clapton 2nd team. ten ‘regulars’ were unavailable and three did not turn up on the day, so to say Thurrock 4ths were weaker than normal was not an exaggeration!
Playing any second team is hard enough, as all are training and pushing for first team places, without the selection problems Thurrock had. Clapton backs were just too strong and too fast for the hastily put together Thurrock back division.
Despite losing 60 – 7, there were plenty of pluses. Thurrock welcomed back Tony Wilkins at outside half, having broken his leg badly very nearly exactly 2 years ago – and he scored Thurrocks only try?! Steve Bowen returned at scrum half, after an absence of many years, to Thurrocks colours. Jack Callow and Blaine Daly played their first full games for the 4ths on the wings and young James Pearce, normally a back row, filled in at centre. Jack Hatton played well at blind side, when his normal position was hooker. Terry Keenan played his first game of the season at tight head and Danny Holding tackled very well at centre.
What was most reassuring was the 4th team actually put in a good performance in the circumstances and their heads never looked like going down – led admirably by second row Liam Walsh. Indeed, for most of the second half Thurrock actually took the game to Clapton, with breakaway tries doing the damage.
Thurrrock 4th team are going through a ‘rebuilding’ stage at present, with the youngest in the side on the day was just 17 and the oldest were a pair of 59 year olds – certainly a team for all ages.
Thurrock are at home to Ilford 3rd team next saturday with a 2.15 KO.