Thurrock 13 v 19 Bishop’s Stortford
THURROCK welcomed promotion chasing Bishop Stortford with a renewed confidence following last week’s comeback victory and knowing their National league position is safe and could now play without any inhabitations. The visitors started the game strongly and were rewarded after just 5 minutes winger Jono Child scored a try wide out in the corner. Coleman’s excellent conversion into the wind took his side out to a 7 point lead. However there advantage was short lived, as Thurrock’s desire to run the ball was quickly rewarded, Frankie Neale injected pass with his arrival in the back line and perfectly timed pass gave Joe Hardy the chance to score wide on the left, an excellent touchline conversion by fullback Neale leveled the scores.
Although playing into the stiff breeze, Stortford enjoyed the better of the subsequent battle for territory, but stout Thurrock defence prevented any scores for the next 20 minutes however the key turning point was when second row, Nick Cooper-Hicks was yellow carded for tackling a Stortford player off the ball, as the visitors threatened to break through well inside the home 22. This advantage was quickly exploited, when Stortford opted for the scrum, rather than a kick and, when a second penalty was conceded, another strong drive at a second scrum allowed No 8, Steve Ball to plunge over for a try, again well converted by Coleman. Before the sin bin period had expired, the visitors’ lead was stretched to 12 points just moments before the half time break when Wayne Child scored a try, Coleman’s conversion attempt went narrowly wide.
The visitors flattered by a late 12 point burst now led 19-7, probably felt comfortable but. Thurrock, had other ideas s, the home side proceeded to dominate possession and most of the territory, and Thurrock proceeded to dominate in the line outs and backed up by a commitment to run the ball into the faltering breeze and some excellent handling, the home team exerted considerable pressure on Stortford, and were rewarded after 10 minutes of the half with three points from Neale’s boot, off the third penalty conceded by Stortford in relatively quick succession. Thurrock went straight back onto the attack and it took a tremendous last-ditch Stortford tackle prevent a try by Nat Farrell.
Bishop Stortford were now being tested by a constant barrage of fast flowing rugby from the home side, the visitors’ stubborn and last ditch resistance was broken, Thurrock won a kickable penalty after eventually a yellow card was given to a visiting player for continual infringement at the breakdown. Frankie Neale stepped to take the easy three points on offer, to reduce the margin to secure a bonus point and make them entirely safe from the lingering threat of relegation. The was just sufficient time to re-start and full time was blown almost immediately when the ball found touch after Thurrock had secured the ball
TEAM ; NEALE, FARRELL, PRUCE, BURCHAM, HARDY, SULLIVAN, COOK, HULSE, CAREY, BEVANS-ROYSTON, COOPER-HICKS, FLAVIN, KELLARD, JONES, RETIGAN
REP RATE, RUSSO, RUDGELEY
Thurrock finish their season when they visit GRAVESEND on Saturday, kick off is 3.00pm