The 24-year-old former Esher and Dorking openside will certainly be familiar to Elthamians supporters after producing an outstanding individual performance at College Meadow at the end of April when Albanian won a thrilling encounter 34-29, Elbrow scoring one of the visitors’ five tries.
It was a man of the match display which prompted OEs Director of Rugby Gavin Lach to get in contact with the Albanian No.7. “At Albanian we were fighting for our lives to stay in the league and as a team we produced our best performance of the season at Elthamians,” Elbrow explained. “Afterwards Gavin and Kenchy, who I knew from my time at Esher, got in contact. The move made sense and after hearing about the club’s ambition, it was an easy decision to make. It all sounds so exciting and something I want to be a part of.”
He added: “That was one of the most tense games I've ever played - a real battle. I moved to No.8 in the second half which was foreign territory for me being an out and out 7. I just thought I would keep running hard, grab the bull by the horns and do anything to win! I'm a bit of a rugby nause so I did my research on my opposite man that day Mike Denbee and really enjoyed the competition for 80 minutes.
“I have now played against Elthamians three times in total - twice for Dorking in National Two South and on both those previous occasions we lost narrowly. The second time I actually gave away the penalty in the final play to give OEs the win, so that's what motivated me the third time - unfinished business!”
Elbrow missed a large chunk of the recently completed season through injury which has made him determined to make up for lost time when he arrives at College Meadow. “Missing the majority of the season through injury was really hard to take,” he admitted, “but it made me extremely determined to force my way into the team at OAs and make a difference. I had to get up to speed fast as I only had nine games of the season remaining when I came back. But luckily it went well and I played some good rugby.
“I'd like to think I'm a bit of a livewire No.7 with a lot of energy! Giving away a few kilos in weight to most other backrows in the league means I have to give 100 per cent in everything I do. I have grown up watching (even though he's a hooker) Schalk Brits' abrasive running style and skill at the breakdown. This is always something I try and work on. What 7 doesn't like the nasty stuff!”
The back row is a particular area of strength at Elthamians but Elbrow can’t wait for the challenges ahead. “I know Hamish [Barton] is the captain and 7 for OEs for a number of seasons now so I look forward to learning off him and the other back row players and of course pushing them all the way for that No.7 shirt. Strength in depth and competition for places is not a bad thing and something I won’t shy away from.”
OEs boss Gavin Lach is delighted to have secured the services of the 24-year-old mechanical engineer. “It’s not often you notice an opposition player stand out as much as Harry did that afternoon against us,” he said. “He was absolutely outstanding all over the park and a real nuisance at the breakdown. Every time there was a break in play or a turnover, all I could see was his distinctive blue scrum cap.
"Afterwards, all the talk among our coaches were about his performance. Then I spoke to Albanian DoR Gavin Hogg who I know well, who told me that Elbrow was from our part of the south east and would be leaving Albanian at the end of the season. I couldn’t believe my luck as I'd lost Mike Denbee to retirement! Gavin gave me his number, I got in touch, we hooked up two days later and I’m delighted to say he signed.
“As we found to our cost, he has got a massive engine on him, runs hard and is a real dog at the breakdown. We are very strong in the back row, and Harry’s arrival gives us even more competition and options which are what we need if we are going to push on next season.”
Updated 15:39 - 15 Jun 2018 by Jon Edwards