LONDON LEAGUE THREE NORTH EAST: Harlow 15 Sudbury 12
Sudbury came back from their first game of 2014 with a bonus point to show for their efforts on a very wet and heavy pitch at Harlow.
The visitors had to play against the elements in the first half and ended it with a narrow lead.
But they failed to capitalise on the second-half advantage of wind and slope and were outwitted by their opponents after the turnaround.
Harlow started at pace and drove down the hill and made it deep into Sudbury’s half before being held up by the defence, who were then awarded a penalty to thwart their advances.
From the kick, Sudbury broke up field with Ollie Morgan joining the backline to score with only four minutes played.
The Suffolk side nearly scored from the restart when Fraser Beckett kicked ahead and then drove deep into the opposition half.
Brother Austin then made a similar break with two hacks to get right on the Harlow try line and only a desperate dive from the Harlow full-back prevented him scoring.
Fraser Beckett scored behind the posts for Sudbury 24 minutes in when, from a scrum, the backs shipped the ball wide to the left and he ran round to score.
Tom Summers converted and Sudbury looked in command.
But Harlow scored just before half-time when their 11 intercepted a pass on the halfway line and made a swift break to score, with Dobson converting to reduce the deficit to five at the break.
With the pitch now resembling a quagmire and having the elements working for them, Harlow changed the game plan to a tight game, keeping the ball away from Sudbury’s backs.
They drove deep into the Sudbury half from the kick-off and crossed the 22-metre line, but were again held up.
The Blues gave away a penalty which Harlow kicked for touch, but did not manage to score from the ensuing lineout.
Another penalty in the 22 saw Harlow opt to kick for the posts and Dobson reduced the gap to two.
Sudbury were now being penalised for infringements at the ruck and had a man binned when Harlow scored from a five-metre scrum.
It was difficult to distinguish who was who in the mud and gloom as the weather deteriorated, but Sudbury kept to the task and in the dying seconds were awarded a penalty 38 metres out.
Summers had no option but to kick in the difficult conditions to secure a draw.
The kick was just wide, with just enough time for Sudbury to follow up, but Harlow put the ball dead to end the game.