9 months ago
By Danny Elmer
DEFENCE WINS GAMES
A HARD SHIFT EARNS REWARDS
EPPING UPPER CLAPTON RFC 17 V 15 ROMFORD & GIDEA PARK RFC
CLAPTON CELEBRATE NEW YEAR VICTORY
Clapton opened their 2018 account with a hard fought victory over fellow mid table challengers Romford. It owed as much to their defensive solidity as any other aspect. Their ranks were depleted due to injuries and non- availabilities so it was up every squad member to front up and take extra responsibility within the team. New centre partnership of George Cooke and Frazer Parris were very much to the forefront, Des Griggs continued his increasing development and influence and Harry Barker exuded leadership skills far in advance of his youthful years!
This game was very much a game of 2 halves. EUCRFC were out of the traps straight from the kick off. Their aggression and positive play helped score 2 first half converted tries, and a penalty goal and this could have been so much more. Clapton was winning its fair share of possession at scrum and line outs, but their real success was the impact they were making in the contact points often overturning possession and counter-attacking from all parts of the field. Griggs was on hand to finish one such move after just 4 minutes taking a final pass from Barker, Mitch Dins converting and adding a penalty goal midway through the half. Soon after Laurie Dobbin was inches away from adding to the score. Romford stemmed the thrust and turned defence into attack and scored themselves. 10-7 to Clapton and half time looming, another turnover in midfield saw the ball transferred to Barker and he galloped over from 20 metres out. Dins converted to make it 17-7 at half time.
Despite Clapton having the elements in their favour, they spent nearly all the second half in a rearguard act. At no point did they falter in their defensive duties, stopping wave after wave of Romford attacks. Both sides tried to play positive rugby, running the ball as much as possible. Romford pressure allowed them to kick a penalty goal with 20minutes remaining and then back they came again and finally crossed wide out for their second try with 5 minutes left on the clock. The conversion failed, Clapton held a slender lead and with the home sides most effective passage of play in the second period they managed to control the ball through to the final whistle.
Such was the air of relief and contentment at the extent of the second half defensive performance; Clapton should reflect equally on the first half when they play good 15 man rugby, which gave them the platform to eventually succeed in this encounter.
EUCRFC: M. Dins, L. Dobbin, F. Parris, G. Cooke, J. Glass, H. Barker, A. Unstead, C. Furlong, J. Parkin, L. Rogers, O. Stokes, D. McFarlane, D. Griggs, Laurie Dobbin, M. Sinfield, J.Gunnel, L. Everard, A. Power
Updated 13:38 - 18 Jan 2018 by Paul Donnelly