Thurrock 32 v 23 Westcliff
Thurrock gave the home supporters an early Christmas present with a hard earned victory over local rivals Westcliff at Oakfield on Saturday. The game started off at a good pace and Westliff were forced into an early change as winger Oliver Jones was replaced due to bad cut on the head. An early Thurrock foray into the Westcliff 22 was well defended and it was the visitors whom started to ask questions and two penalties from the boot of Dudman put them ahead 6-0 after Thurrock were penalised for offside in the backs and a infringement at the breakdown.
Midway through the 1st period a huge gap was exploited by scrum half Jones who went through to score under the posts, Dudman again added the extra’s, to extend the visitors lead. Thurrock responded well and after a try was not given the referee adjudged he knocked the ball on when grounding, but Thurrock disrupted the resultant scrum and James Kellard made no mistake when picking the ball up and scoring under the posts, Frankie Neale added the conversion. There was still time left in the half for another Thurrock misdemeanour at the breakdown in the own giving Dudman a shot at goal which went over from 40 metres, for the visitors to lead 16-7 at the break.
Thurrock turned around now with a brisk breeze at their assistance and their forwards started to dominate proceedings, and it was now the Westcliff forwards that were guilty of giving away penalties, two forward orientated tries put Thurrock ahead the first from James Flavin and the second of the match for James Kellard, both ably converted by Neale who also added a penalty in an important spell for the home side who then added a bonus point try when a great counter attack got Nathan Farrell over in the corner to give Thurrock a 29-16 lead.
Westcliff through caution to the wind and made the closing minutes very nervy for the home supporters when Martyn crashed over for a try, and a successful conversion from Dudman brought them back to within 6 points but there fears were allayed when Neale coolly slotted home a penalty in the last moments of normal time, and despite a few more minutes added for injury, Thurrock closed the game to end their long losing spell.
TEAM: Neale, Farrell, Burcham, Stanley, Gorman, Rudgeley, Cook, North ,Durrance, Bevans-Royston, Flavin, Cooper-Hicks, Russo, Timson, Kellard,
Rep; Yeomans, Ellis, Pruce
Thurrock can now enjoy their Christmas & New Year break and look forward to the New Year when they travel to TRING on the 5th January