Harrow reap the whirlwind
Outstanding second half performance takes Harrow to try bonus point victory
A most pleasant afternoon at Grove Field on Saturday with an absolutely outstanding second half performance by the 1stxv capping an excellent and most enjoyable lunch
Thirty six of us sat down to a plentiful plate of chicken pie, with broccoli/cauliflower cheese and new potatoes, followed by profiteroles and then for those who still wanted something there was cheese and biscuits. Great value for the money and loads of it. Top effort by Linda and enjoyed by all. Thanks as always to Lesley for organizing the lunch, to Lesley, Annette and Jo for setting up. To the ladies in the kitchen for all their help, to Debbie on the bar. All contributing in their own way to another enjoyable lunch
Thanks to Clive Lander and John Dietmann for once again sponsoring the barrels of “Sidepocket for a Toad”, to John and Jean Thomas, John and Brenda Batten, Lesley and finally Matt and Debbie Henry for their most generous contributions to the raffle which ended up being one prize short as I had to sell the bottle of port to a thirsty bunch on table four. Still we had plenty for the raffle anyway
Harrow kicked off playing towards the car park pitch with a strong wind behind their backs and it was clear immediately that they were determined to overturn the 26-24 loss suffered at Kilburn in October taking the game to the visitor’s right from the start. Unfortunately if anything it was a bit too frantic. Harrow were playing some nice fluid rugby but rather than waiting for the gaps too come we kept forcing the last pass and Kilburn holding their shape and discipline despite being under constant pressure unable to get out of their own territory were able to hold out. At 16 mins Harrow finally got on the score board with a penalty by Argent 30 metres out in front of the posts for holding on. 3-0. Harrow continued to press but as they continued to fail to make any impression on the scoreboard they became increasingly desperate as mistake followed mistake. Instead of looking to build the pressure they started looking for the wonder pass but it wasn’t happening and our visitors despite being completely outplayed could not be breached. Finally at 29 mins Gareth Gibson provided the spark. Picking up the ball on the half way line the 2nd row made excellent ground before being brought down short. Quick ball was recycled and there he was to crash over the line fifteen metres in from the left hand touchline. Fine kick by Argent 10-0. Once again the home team lost concentration allowing Kilburn to dominate the last 10 minutes of the half finally scoring on the break in the far right hand corner. Difficult conversion missed. All that hard work, possession and territory undermined. What should have been a 20 point or so lead into the break was only 10-5.
Now playing with the wind behind their backs the visitors must have been buoyant starting by far the better of the two sides and at 53 mins their perseverance was rewarded when their winger went in under the posts. Easy conversion 10-12. By now Brennan was on in the front row and his dominant performance in the tight completely disrupted Kilburn who were unable to deal with his technique and power. It was to prove the catalyst for an outstanding final quarter for the home team scoring three high quality tries. First at 61 mins Harrow retook the lead with a quite exceptional individual try by Burnett. Taking the ball on the half way line, showing both strength and real pace he was far too good for a host of Kilburn defenders to go over in the right hand corner before making good ground fifteen yards out from the right hand post. Decent conversion by Argent 17-12. At 75 mins Argent into the line at full back made good ground pass inside to Burnett who made good ground before passing back outside to Argent who went over again 15 metres in from the right hand touchline for a quite lovely try. Excellent conversion 24-12. Finally at 77 mins Argent in his own half allowed the ball, kicked through by Kilburn, to bounce through his legs. It was recovered and the ball moved right at pace. Once again excellent ground was made up the right hand touchline by Vincent and when he was looking for the final pass who but Argent was outside him to go over in the corner for the try bonus point score. Another lovely, lovely try scored by the man of the match who as an 18 year old and in his first adult season was simply sensational.
With two colts on the bench Ollie Stern and Alexander Gooden making the debuts for the 1st team both getting on and making positive impacts there was much to be pleased with the Harrow performance. With any number of players unavailable from the Datchworth game including both scrum halves, Nick Batten went to nine from his normal position at six and Matt Andrews also moved from the backrow to the wing. Both had fine games but Nick in particular was a revelation. We all know what a fine footballer he is but his bossing of the forwards and his willingness to take on Kilburn round the fringes tied in their forward and helped to open up the game later for harrow’s pacey and exciting backs. Outstanding second half performance by the home team and one that the coach, the club and the players can be proud.
Next Saturday we travel to local rivals Tabard for what will be a tough competitive game. The ko will be at 2.30pm