H&D 56 - 10 Dagenham
Harwich claim top spot.
Dagenham made the journey up the A12/A120 to Low Road for this Essex Shield League fixture.
Despite being short of a couple of players not able to get away from work, Harwich started the game brightly and full of intent. The opening exchanges were fairly even until the visitors gave away a kickable penalty. Back row forward Damien Smith put his hand up to take on the kicking duties and was successful in putting Harwich Rugby in front 3 - 0. Harwich continued to press their opponents and were rewarded when strong running from the backs gave centre Elliott Hawken the opportunity to get over the try line. Unfortunately Smith missed the conversion. Harwich relaxed a bit which allowed Dagenham to gain possession and territory. Moving the ball well saw the Dagenham backs make ground and create an opportunity to score a try which was converted bringing them back into the game, 8 - 7. The home team reacted well to this setback and went through the phases retaining the ball and making ground. With the forwards making ground, it fell to prop Paul Sewell, who had an excellent game, to crash over the line for the next try which was unconverted, 13 - 7. To show they were not out of the game Dagenham responded, gaining ground and keeping the ball. One such attack was stopped only by the home side illegally entering a ruck. The penalty was kicked successfully leaving the visitors just three points behind. Prop Harley Hema, who had arrived twenty minutes late due to his work, made one of his trade mark runs shrugging off would be tacklers and touching down for the next try, giving Harwich an 18 - 10 lead at halftime, with the conversion missed.
The second half was a different game as the home team kept to their structure, keeping the ball and making inroads into the oppositions 22 metre area. This was a tough period for Dagenham, who were being dominated at both lineout and scrum. Harwich Rugby worked hard to score a couple of tries through winger Sam Jewell and number 8 Simon Palmer. Both conversions were missed. As the visitors forwards visibly tired the home team remained focussed and made them pay with further tries from replacement forward Kyran Green and winger Adam Palmer. Damien Smith found his kicking boots slotting over both conversions. Next on the score sheet was hooker Jack Cairns, who should have scored in the first half but dropped the ball from a well worked lineout move over the line. He was suitably punished after the game for this. Smith, into his swing, made the conversion. The last try of the game was from a very strong run from the bristling number 8, Palmer, who got in under the posts making an easy conversion for Smith.
Final score Harwich & Dovercourt RUFC 56 - Dagenham RUFC 10.
This bonus point win puts Harwich 1st XV top of the Essex Shield League, with an important game next week away to the team in second, Bancroft's. With the 2nd XV and the Owls top of their respective leagues it has been a good week for the Harwich rugby club.