A Brightlingsea team has only ever once visited the Pit, back in January 2014 when the struggling 2nd XV turned up with only 10 players (including some the the 1st XV) and were lent several Templar substitutes. The total lack of cohesion in the Pirates side meant that Templars, after a relatively slow start, ran out 46-0 winners with a seven try haul.
However, the Brightlingsea team that visits us on the 6th is the 1st XV - looking to bounce stright back to Division 2 after a disappointing season last year. They currently lay in second place in the table 10 points clear of Halstead in third. Like Halstead they've won their last three games on the bounce; by 15 against Harwich, 7 against Thurston and, most recently, handing Clacton a 110-7 drubbing. Centre Smith and scrum half Day lead the way in try scoring with 27 between them whilst Halsteads Harwood and Merry boast just 17.
The majority of the Halstead team who host Brightlingsea this weekend will remember the first meeting of the season, a cold, wet and windy November day, when a total lack of tackling allowed the seasiders to run in 62-0 winners. However, what they should not forget is that the forwards dominated the home side for the first 20 minutes, stealing lineout ball as well as winning scrums against the head. Assuming that performance can be repeated and with a potential league debut going to New Zealand import James Merry who will bring all the experience of international rugby to the Essex countryside, an upset is more than possible.
Lets just hope the points are more evenly shared!