Essex Intermediate Cup Final
On a clear, crisp night, at Barking RFC, with conditions ideal for a running game, Romford showed no signs of the team who had twice conceded over fifty points to Thurrock in the two league encounters earlier in the season.
Aaron Burns kicked an early penalty for Thurrock, to which former Thurrock player, Dave Gilmour (yes – the Pink Floyd guitarist) replied shortly afterwards.
Thurrock’s backs always looked dangerous when they got the ball, but were denied it for a considerable amount of time by a spirited Romford pack. Some quick possession saw a long pass out to winger Nat Farrell who outpaced the remaining defence to score an unconverted try.
Back came Romford with another penalty, to lead 9-8, before a storming break by centre Ben Stanley, saw him give a final pass to supporting full back Darryl Worster who scored under the posts. Burns added the conversion.
Two yellow cards in as many minutes did not deter Romford, who replied with a try of their own after a super break through the middle by their centre. The conversion was missed, leaving the score at 15-14 to Thurrock.
Thurrock were being starved of possession, but made good use of what they got when Worster, burst through two tackles to offload the ball to Farrell who scampered under the posts for his second of the night. Again Burns added the extras.
On the stroke of half time Thurrock were awarded a penalty, only for the referee to blow the whistle to end the half. The Romford players all trooped off the pitch whilst the Thurrock captain remonstrated with the ref., who then called them all back onto the pitch, for Burns to take the penalty, which he duly slotted. Everyone off again for HT.
After fifteen minutes of the second half, a searing break by No.8 Brad Retigan saw him outpace the whole Romford defence to score under the posts. Burns added the conversion. Romford refused to roll over and came back yet again with forward surges resulting in a classic try for their winger, involving the whole back line. Gilmour converted to bring his side within ten points.
On a night of bizarre decisions, two more yellow cards followed (deservedly), one for each side, before Thurrock sealed a great season, after some great work from Chris Banks to put Sam Porter over for a try, which Burns converted.
As stated earlier, a great season with 157 tries, 1020 points, promotion, and the Cup. The players have a well deserved rest (just 4 weeks), before pre-season training starts in mid-June.
Team : Darryl Worster, Sam Porter, Earl Gorman, Ben Stanley, Nathan Farrell, Ian Rudgely, Aaron Burns, Dave Stevens, Dan Carey, Billy Smith, Andy Kettleton, Aaron Woodward, Luke Crowhurst, Ben Timson, Brad Retigan.
Reps: Ben Partridge, Chris Banks, Dritan Loka, Neil Wakefield, Ben Madden