Harlow 7 Sudbury 43
by Ken Watkins
at Latton Park
Sudbury clinched the division’s promotion play-off spot, running in seven tries as they duly completed a league double over Graham Richard’s Rams.
Too many handling errors and penalties, plus some unfathomable refereeing decisions, meant this performance fell some way short of Sudbury’s normal free flowing rugby.
Victory took Sudbury to 88 points from 20 games, and with two to play, they cannot be caught by nearest challengers Wanstead or Norwich. Leaders Rochford Hundred, who have a perfect record, are on 95 points and have a game in hand.
Four tries in the first half took the game away from Harlow, and secured the bonus point.
Harry Watkins opened the scoring in the fifth minute, supporting Sam Maile. Sam Rust converted.
Any hopes that this might open the floodgates slowly faded, as both sides were guilty of errors in a stop-start first half, before Tom Summers rekindled them after 29 minutes following a scrum and feed through the threes.
The third try was a superb individual effort, Austin Beckett catching a clearance on halfway and his speed and vision taking him across the field and round the defence.
Another threes move in the 39th minute saw Rust go over and follow up with the conversion.
But with the final play of the half Harlow took advantage of a scrappy line-out for a converted try, James Clarke going over.
The first 30 minutes of the second half were punctuated by penalties and injuries, before Sudbury scored three tries in a seven-minute spell.
First, Frazer Beckett went over, supporting a surging run from halfway by Watkins, converted by Summers. Quick ball from the scrum saw Rust go over again four minutes later, and adding the conversion.
Shaun Smith rounded it off in the 77th minute, outrunning a tiring Harlow defence.