Harrow win away..................
By Andrew Smart
Five tries just reward for excellent perfomance
After that debacle at Tabard, the Harrow faithful travelled to Cheshunt more in hope than expectation but they were rewarded with an excellent performance by the visitors outscoring their hosts by five tries to one and in doing so securing their second away victory of the season. Cheshunt are the recipients of one of the RFU’s AVG pitches. The pitch and facility are quite superb and as a club they have every right to be proud of what they have. I wondered whether playing and training on such a pitch would afford the home side a significant advantage but that was not to be the case. The pitch is designed for fast and open rugby and it was the visitors who looked far more at home
Harrow kicked off playing with the clubhouse behind them and into a strong wind blowing into their left-hand corner. Despite playing into the elements Harrow started off the brighter of the two teams moving the ball crisply whenever they had the opportunity. The home team also looked to give the ball plenty of width and with their dangerous left winger you could understand why. For 27 mins both defences proved up to the task and then as Cheshunt looked to attack on the half way line their big centre spilled the ball in midfield. It was a blatant knock on and everybody stopped waiting for the whistle. The offending player kicked the ball in frustration but when he realised that there was no whistle and that all the Harrow players had stopped, he chased the ball, picked it up and went in under the posts. Easy conversion. Referee said he hadn’t seen it and “play to the whistle” never seemed more apt. Anyway, Harrow produced the perfect response. Leaman recovered the kick off and was tackled in the air. Penalty kick into the right-hand corner. Gareth Gibson in the middle palmed a good throw straight into the hands of Leaman on the peel who ran straight at the heart of the Cheshunt defence scoring underneath the posts. Easy conversion 7-7. Two minutes later Harrow were in front with an outstanding team try. The ball was moved left on the Cheshunt 10 metre line and then moved quickly the other way. Chris West playing out of position at 12 made good yards and as tackled he got the ball away to Driver on his inside who then passed outside to Batten back against the grain who went in under the posts for a quite lovely try. Straightforward conversion 7-14. At 32 mins Cheshunt on the half way line moved the ball right. Some clever passing created an overlap but unfortunately for them Armitage-Brain on the left wing read the pass beautifully and he had too much pace for the defence running it un under the posts. Another straight forward conversion 7-21
Cheshunt then had their best passage of the match camped for the remainder of the half within the Harrow 22, their efforts rewarded with penalties on 38 mins and on the half both for no arms in the tackle. Harrow were fortunate indeed that the referee didn’t produce a card when perhaps he should. Anyway, both were kicked and Harrow went into the break 13-21 ahead.
Now playing with the elements it was only going to be a matter of time before the visitors secured their try bonus point. Cheshunt were competitive throughout but they struggled against the wind and a solid Harrow defence to maintain any purchase in the Harrow half. At 53 mins another wonderful Harrow attack down the right-hand side of the pitch saw young Billy Argent in at the right-hand corner. Difficult conversion missed 13-26. Mark Gibson now moving from 15 to 10 saw a change of tactics with a succession of booming kicks pushing Cheshunt back into their own 22. On 73 mins one such kick was dropped and then picked up by a Cheshunt player from in front of his team mate. Clear penalty for offside to the right of the posts on the 22-metre line. With a game to be won the skipper made the right call and Argent kicked the penalty 13-29 and Harrow were now more than two converted tries ahead. Just about on full time Cheshunt had a scrum about 10 metres out. Although they won the ball, they were under such pressure that their No 8 had to pick up at the base. The Harrow forwards swarmed over him and the ball was stripped by Gareth Gibson. The ball was quickly moved left and an overlap created for Stuart Vincent now moved to the left wing who finished off in style. Outstanding conversion 13-36 full time to cap an excellent performance by Harrow. The try bonus point win saw Harrow leap frog Cheshunt into 7th.
This Saturday Harrow host Old Streetonians who are currently third and still hunting promotion. Harrow have now shown that they can win away they must now show that we can be more than just competitive against the teams above us and look to overturn a 27-0 loss at Hackney Marshes earlier in the season
All the best to Nick Batten who unfortunately popped his shoulder on Saturday and will be out now probably for the rest of the season
Some interesting decisions for the coach to make re selection for Saturday assuming he has a full squad to pick from
A fine team performance on Saturday. More please