Upminster made the trip up the A12 to Clacton on Saturday, expecting a tough encounter which were evident throughout the match.
Upminster started the match the lesser side with Clacton using their bigger forward pack to their advantage and scoring the first try of the match. Clacton’s 12 was able to take advantage of Upminster’s ill-discipline and place a kick within 10 metres of Upminster’s try line. Clacton were able to then set up the drive and rumble over from 5 metres out. Clacton’s 12 kicked the points to make the starting score line 7-0. The game remained static for the next 10 minutes with Upminster forcing play and Clacton defence holding firm. A penalty was awarded to Upminster with Josh Simmons placing a kick within the Clacton 22. Upminster won the lineout and with some good awareness of space, attacked the blind side and Chris Lamb was able to step inside, ride the tackle and score. Chris missed the tricky conversion, score 7-5. Upminster were then revitalised and were able to secure the bonus point before half time. Clacton were simply un-done in the wider channels, with the ball being swiftly moved across the pitch we were able to secure try after try through Jake Jones, Alfie Simmonett and Matt Munn. Unfortunately, as halftime loomed, Upminster’s discipline again was a factor that caused another Clacton try. Similar to the first half Upminster found themselves defending their try line and with a good passage of play where the 10 missed their big forward runners, they were able to get on the outside and score. HT score 26-14.
Upminster came out firing in the second half with Jake Jones again proving to be a prolific try scorer when given some space. Chris Lamb managed to find his kicking boots by this point and added the extras to make the score 33-14. Clacton then struggled to maintain the pace of which we wanted to play, tackles were starting to fall off the Upminster players and space was opening up everywhere for our strong ball carriers. George Cox was able to provide a sublime offload to Josh Simmons to run in a try again Chris Lamb adding the extras. A returning Dan Cuerden was able to roll back the years with a superb solo effort breaking numerous tackles and selling possibly the worse dummy to roll over and score, 45-14. After some extremely good play, it was the turn of Clacton with the next score. They again were able to barrel over through one of their massive props running a good line and going over under the posts, score 45-21. The remainder of the match was a close contest, Clacton were able to retain possession very well, regularly making ground with the pick and go, however they struggled to get any success out wide. Upminster on the other hand were dangerous with the ball. Upminster had a scrum well within our 22, Josh Simmons received the ball and threw and accurate pass missing three Clacton Defenders to Alfie Simmonett. The electric Upminster winger managed to evade several Clacton covering defenders and score. A try, which highlights the confidence of Upminster to attack from anywhere. The final stages of the match were dominated by Clacton they were eager for the bonus point and were driving towards the line. During this exchange there were some huge hits coming in from the Upminster forwards, notably George Cox, Sean Davis and Dan Canary all displaying excellent strength to stop the large Clacton pack dead. The last laugh however would go to Clacton after continued pressure and Upminster again showing poor discipline were awarded the penalty try. Clacton deservedly so had their bonus point.
The final whistle came with the score finishing 52-28. Credit to Clacton for hosting we wish them all the best for the remainder of the season and we look forward to hosting Thames at home next week.
MOTM- Josh Simmons