THURROCK 18 v 54 OLD ELTHAMIANS
THURROCK kicked off into a stiff breeze laced from time to time with heavy rain, although the pitch was in fine condition they quickly took the lead through a Frankie Neale penalty after only four minutes as an Elthamians forward strayed offside at a ruck. Strong work by the visitors pack ensured that the turnover count was low and that they could gain possession from Thurrock’s runners. One such occasion saw the home team forced to cough up the ball and quick hands put Bennett clear down the left touchline, Tom White missed the conversion but OEs were now in front.
With 13 minutes played illegal binding in the scrum gave Thurrock the chance to retake the lead with a penalty, Neale again was successful albeit via the crossbar to retake the lead 6-5. However that’s the best it got for the home side as the rest of the half was dominated by the visitors, tries came at regular intervals, tries coming from Bennett his second, and other scores from Rob White, Sullivan, and Porter with Tom White adding 3 conversions and 2 penalties for Thurrock to trail 6-37.
Memories of last season suddenly troubled the doughty band of travelling supporters. Leading easily by 30 points to five, Elthamians ended losing 46-33. Could Thurrock do it again? However, the blue-and-yellows continued their strong pressing in the second half. White’s kick-offs gave Thurrock problems, while Ledger was the master of catching the home side’s restarts.
An early penalty for White settled the visitors as Thurrock’s second row Cooper-Hicks got a yellow card for interfering with play while offside; 6-40. Almost half way through the half Tompkins held on to an interception and sprinted almost 70m to score under the posts; White added the conversion 6-47. Thurrock plugged away, although down the forwards continued there much better second half and were rewarded with a try from Cooper-Hicks, Neale nailing the conversion; 13-47.
A minute later Sullivan received a yellow card for a tackle off the ball and replacement Hobbs followed him to the sin-bin a couple of minutes later for being deliberately offside. Thurrock scored soon after through scrum-half Mike Titterton, sniping from the base of a scrum. Neale missed the kick; 18-47, as things started to look brighter for the home side.
But right on the stroke of full time Williams was sent sliding over for a good team try. White bagged the conversion and referee Callum Howard decided that was that; 18-54.
The young Thurrock side has had a hard start and the lessons learned from the two early defeats, the team spirit remains good but they must look to cut out the errors that keep putting them on the back foot
TEAM: Neale, Farrell, Sullivan (Madden 19m), Gorman, Barrand, Worsfold, Titterton, Keefe (Yeomans 62m), Durrance, Bevans-Royston, Cooper-Hicks, Banks, Flavin, Russo, Crowhurst (Loka 52m)
THURROCK’S hard start continues when they visit BURY ST EDMUNDS, COACH LEAVES THE CLUB AT NOON, Kick Off is 3 PM