Strong Sudbury still facing drop danger

LONDON 3NE

Harlow 15 Sudbury 6

RELEGATION-threatened Sudbury delivered a strong performance against second-in-the-table Harlow but were edged out by a big second half effort by the home side pack.

Sudbury started the game playing up the hill and against the stiff breeze and competed on equal terms with their hosts. The backs spread the ball wide and made good ground every time they had ball in hand.

It was 20 minutes before Harlow made any moves to threaten the Sudbury line and after a period of pressure in the 22, Sudbury gave away a penalty and Harlow opted to kick for a 3-0 lead.

Tom Summers levelled the score immediately when Harlow hung on to the ball too long on the restart and he kicked the three points from just outside the 22.

Good defence prevented any further score in the half but the Sudbury backs did make a couple of good breaks to come close and Harlow were denied on the line by a good tackle from Shaun Smith.

Harlow must have had a stiff talking to at half-time because it was evident the pack were more focused in the second half.

They closed the game down by denying the Blues the possession they had enjoyed in the first half and preventing the backs from mounting any telling runs.

Sudbury used the slope to spend the first period of the second half deep in Harlow territory and forced a penalty after nine minutes which Summers slotted over.

Harlow regained the lead with a well worked try when Van Beck crossed the line after several phases of play in the 22 but Dodson failed to add the two points with a quarter of an hour played.

The Harlow forwards were now having more influence on the game and from a lineout in the 22, Harlow scored a second try and conversion with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Sudbury used the last period to apply some pressure on the home side but although they mounted several big pushes the Harlow defence held firm to take the points.

Next week Sudbury are home against bottom-of-the-table Campion (3pm).

n Sudbury’s former coach Mark Bolton has been appointed senior coach for the Eastern Counties.

Bolton said: “I have huge pride in Eastern Counties rugby and I’m passionate about developing young players and raising the profile of the senior team through blooding young players along the same lines as the current England coach.”