Pegasus Palmerians 0 - 45 H&D
Captain Leeks signs off with a win.
In the last league game of the season Harwich & Dovercourt RUFC travelled to St. Clere’s School, Stanford-le-Hope, the home ground of Pegasus Palmerians, who were fourth in the table. Late changes to the team saw second row Richard Woods start instead of the injured Kyran Green, David Parkin pushing Damien Smith onto the bench, Robert Wood propping for Harley Hema and Sam Male at full back.
These changes did not affect the way Harwich played the game and they were soon into their style of attacking running rugby on a very pleasant sunny afternoon. With the backs causing all sorts of problems for the opposition, it was no surprise that the first try was scored by winger Sam Jewell, following good handling and support play. Male landed the conversion. Not to be out shone the forwards also started to dominate their hosts particularly at scrum time, where new boy Wood ably assisted hooker Jack Cairns and prop Paul Sewell. Having worked their way into the Palmerians 22 metre area, number 8, Simon Palmer, with ball in hand, charged through the defence to score the second try which Male converted. Harwich were into the swing of things now, pulling all the strings particularly with man of the match Owen Cowley causing havoc in the centres. Good interplay between forwards and backs gave Cowley the opportunity to step through the on rushing back line which he did with ease to score the next try. Male, who was having a tremendous game, kicked the conversion. Harwich were put under a bit of pressure for the next few minutes but defended well. Following a kick through Male gathered the ball, putting a towering kick up for the backs to chase. The ball landed just outside Palmerians 22 with the full back unable to get underneath it. Flying winger Adam Palmer, committed to the chase, was the beneficiary of the the rugby ball bounce as it sat up into his hands and he sped under the posts. Male slotted the easy conversion. Half time score Pegasus Palmerians 0 - Harwich & Dovercourt 28.
Hot sunny conditions made it difficult for both sides to keep the tempo of the game going, though Harwich continued to boss possession and territory. At times the second half became a little scrappy particularly in the forwards where there were some heated exchanges. Trying to keep to their structure the visitors continued to pressure their hosts. Wood made a early breakthrough scoring after one of his trade mark show and go moves. The conversion was missed. As always the backs not to be outdone, created a chance for the old stager at centre, Adrian Dalby, to cross the line for the next try. Again Male struggled to convert. The game started to shift as Palmerians, keeping the ball, exerted pressure on the Harwich defence, getting close to the try line in the dying seconds of the game. The defence held out and were awarded a penalty just 5 metres from their own try line. The referee indicated to both teams this would be the last play of the game. Expecting the ball to be kicked into touch both sets of forwards relaxed. However Sean Mills (Jnr), playing at fly half called for the ball and set off up the field. Cowley, in support, took the pass just inside his own 22 metre area galloping away down the pitch with the home side defence trying to get across to tackle him. The tall centre read the play, changing direction in a diagonal run from the right to the left side, managing to out pace the defenders and score in the corner. Mills confidently slotted the very difficult conversion to seal a good win.
Pegasus Palmerians 0 - Harwich & Dovercourt 45.
Unfortunately Writtle won their game away at Kings Cross Steelers leaving Harwich in second place by three points. Which means all three Harwich & Dovercourt adult sides, that is the Owls, Seconds and Firsts all finished runners up in their respective leagues.