Thurrock 4ths played this re-arranged fixture in brilliant, even warm sunshine. Unfortunately, the pitch was atrocious, with standing water still trapped on the surface. However, Thurrock took full advantage of the good weather and put on a very good display indeed.
Thurrock elected to play ‘uphill’ and against the little wind there was. Some fine attacking rugby led to Thurrock making several big inroads into the Rochford 4ths defence, especially by Paul Barton at outside half and Micky Gola Jnr at centre. Some fine interplay by forwards and backs eventually led to debutante back row John Cambridge forcing his way to the line, only to fall just short, but able to release the ball to veteran back row Steve Fox, who went over wide out. Much good line out ball was cleanly won by Lionel Hayward at second row. Thurrock turned around 0 – 5 up at half time.
The second half saw Rochford mount their best attack of the game. The Thurrock defence failed for once, allowing the wing to score wide out. Thurrock then dominated the reaminder of the game. A solid scrum, with debutantes to the 4ths, Mike Crawford and Flipper at second row, led to the ball being sent down the back the line and back again, for Micky Gola Jnr to score from a powerful run, dragging several defenders over with him. To add the icing on a very good perfomance centre Tony Wilkins then scored a solo try, running in to score from some 40 metres out, weaving in, around and through the Rochford defence, under the posts, with Micky Simmonds adding the conversion. Thurrock ran out worthy winners 5 – 17.
Man of the match was Terry Keenan at tight head, who is anchoring the scrum well and also adding forward momentum with his bigs runs forward.