The final league game of the season is upon us and with it, a chance to right an old wrong as Templars face Harwich & Dovercourt 2XV.
The two teams first met in 2014/15 season when the Templars traveled to Harwich with a decent squad (once they'd all turned up) on the wettest day of the season. However, despite some good individual showings, Harwich gave the Templars a real one-sided game winning a comfortable 33-0. Once in the bar after the game, it was clear that Harwich are definitely a team to socialise with!
Templars readied themselves for the return fixture knowing what sort of team they were likely to face. Harwich again, slightly less one-sided on the pitch but equally one-sided on the score sheet, won with another 0-33 victory. Due to the good nature of the team however, Templars arranged a charity match against them, with two halves of 'contested' rugby followed by 20 minutes where any of the spectators could get involved. The day concluded with an auction back at the Bird in Hand and a worthwhile cause was well funded out of it.
The season finished with Harwich in 3rd spot, Halstead in 4th.
On to the current season and one of the most disappointing Templars showings. With only three forwards, Ash Meade, Will Allen and Phil Foster, able to make the trip the heavily depleted Templars took advantage of the hosts hospitality and borrowed a pack! Despite this, it was the Templars back line who looked threatening throughout and made good inroads with every attack, debutante Rich Hickox playing centre and Matt Harwood on the left wing. One of these surges down the right hand side by Steve Fellowes, led to a Templar line-out where Allen scored the first ever points against Harwich (using their own line-out call!). The first of many of the seasons conversions missed by Brett Ballard. Templars couldn't hold Harwich back however and they ran out eventual winners 26-5.
Now, with the final game of the season for both sides, the position in the table is very similar to last season. Harwich in 4th place just one point in front of Halstead in 5th. Indeed a win for Halstead could, if results go their way, move them to third in the table. A large partisan crowd would be nice to cheer the Red Knights home and as ever the tea tent will be up and running for spectators.
In true rugby spirit between these teams, both will be heading to the Royal British Legion for the Casino Night to mark the end of a long season no matter what the outcome is. Halstead will then travel to Harwich on the 9th and 16th of April for a tournament hosted on the seaside.