1st XV
Sat 07 Jan 2023  ·  Regional 2 Anglia
Thurrock RFC
1st XV
Tries: H Reynolds, B Timson, K Holloway, C Watts-Adams (2)Conversions: R Cotter (3)Penalties: R Cotter
Rolling Stone in Cliff-hanger

Rolling Stone in Cliff-hanger

Ben Stanley11 Jan 2023 - 13:43
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Report by Ralph Henderson

Thurrock travelled to Beeston Hyrne on Saturday, determined to lift the spirits of a club mourning the loss of two of its great stalwarts in Charlie Putz and Ian Corderoy.

Thurrock welcolmed back Kodie Holloway and Luis Tricio, a recent convert to the front row from Hartpury. Furthermore, Director of Rugby, Martin Jones, gave former Welsh exile Blake Burns a debut in the position once graced by father, Damian.

The irrepressible Henry Bird was fulfilling a work commitment as was winger Ahmed Aminu. Dritan Loka was still feeling the effects of the Flu, which allowed Caolan Watts-Adams to continue his burgeoning second-row partnership with Jay Jennings. With Frank Wright failing a fitness test, Tom Wileman continued in the front row with Aaron Antrobus.

Norwich have proved Thurrock's nemesis in recent years, but this young Thurrock team demonstrates real potential and are gaining in confidence. Bolstered by the leadership of Ben Timson and Niall Clifford, belief is growing weekly and the players are starting to defend leads with resilience and tenacity.

Norwich kicked off into the leaden skies with a strong wind in their favour and dominated the early exchanges. Fly-Half, Theo Elliott, opened his account with a long-range penalty before putting his side into strong positions with prodigious kicking.

However, this was to be a Jekyll and Hyde performance from the home team as they struggled to convert their territorial advantage into scoreboard confirmation. A line-out steal from the impressive Jay Jennings or a powerful scrum featuring Wileman, Antrobus and Lawrence Brown won possession back in dangerous situations.

Brown and Kodie Holloway were doing a lot of unseen work on the floor and deserve their nomenclature of "dustplan and brush"!
Caolan Watts-Adams was supreme in the air while skipper Timson and Dan Ulph were driving through the heart of the Norwich defence.

Behind such a commanding pack, Alex Jones and Dan Stone were able to exert their influence and control the pattern of the game.
Thurrock seized the initiative and attacked from deep. The fleet-footed Rhys Cotter floated into the line with vision and cadence, seeking space and cohesion with his wingers. As the extra man sent Thurrock away on the right, Clifford and Burns put Kye Holloway away. After stretching the defence, the ball was moved adroitly to the left, before Dan Stone threw a delightful miss pass to send Harry Reynolds scorching into the corner to open the Oakfielders' account. Rhys Cotter kicked a beautiful touchline conversion.

It wasn't long before Thurrock renewed their acquaintance with the Norwich 22 by setting up a succession of rolling mauls. From one such situation, the ever-alert Ben Timson, identified a yawning gap and needed no second invitation to add to his season's tally. Cotter added the extras.

No sooner had Elliott restarted than Caolan Watts-Adams had carried with intent, allowing Jones to release the backs. Niall Clifford ran a beautiful arc before putting the outside backs into space. Cotter sprang into the gap before linking intelligently with Kye Holloway on the outside. As the ball was re-cycled, Stone cleverly switched the direction of play to find the instigator, Watts-Adams galloping over for a superb team try.
Now Thurrock threw off the shackles, and former Campion schoolboy Dan Stone came into his own. D.O.R. Martin Jones, has given Stone an extended run in his favoured position of 10 and Stone is on a roll of form at the moment.

When Norwich lost possession in the Thurrock half, Stone was quick to see the defence exposed. A deft chip over the blitzing defence saw Stone regathering, and with sheer pace, he accelerated beyond the second shield. With the line at his mercy, the unselfish sprinter, socks around his ankles, fed the perfect inside pass to allow the supporting Kye Holloway to add to his impressive tally.

At half-time, the away side seemed home and hosed with a commanding lead of 26 points to 3.

With a powerful wind at his back, Dan Stone began to put Thurrock deep into Norwich territory, and it was hardly surprising that they increased their lead. Direct and purposeful carrying by the pack, later supplemented with the power of James Rodger and Luis Tricio, was the order of the day. Following exemplary carrying the effervescent Watts-Adams found himself in optimum position to plunder his second try before "jug phobia" sent him to the substitutes' bench.

Eddie Stevens came on to the field and immediately threw a dummy to wrong - foot the defence.
Just as "All seemed well in the state of Denmark!", the whole game was suddenly transformed. Norwich, who had been second best in most aspects of the game, were handed a life-line when Thurrock had two players sin- binned. Their hooker had been off the pitch and they discovered a saviour in their flanker. Losing line-outs and struggling in the scrums, there seemed no way back.

If the first half was suffused with all-action free-flowing rugby, the second period was stultified by an endless proliferation of penalties.

Unwilling to trust their set-piece, Norwich skipper, Conan Hoey, ordered his team to "tap and go" at every juncture.

Dave Micklethwaite, spotted a deficiency and shot through a gap to score a try before Hoey and Lewis Kenworthy further reduced the deficit.

With the gap almost diminishing by the minute, Timson and his pack started to regain their supremacy, and after a period of pressure, he called Cotter forward to kick a penalty and complete the well deserved victory.

The opposition declared Dan Stone as "Man-of-the-Match". Indeed, he'd had a fine game, but this had been a first-class team effort, to go away to Norwich and come back with all the points after the game had ended on a "knife-edge"!

This Saturday Thurrock entertain old rivals Chelmsford at Oakfield preceded by tributes to Ian Corderoy and Charlie Putz.

Match details

Match date

Sat 07 Jan 2023




Regional 2 Anglia

League position

Team overview
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Team Sponsors

1st XV Sponsor - Hills Prospect
Club Sponsor - Hughes & Associates Property Services Ltd
Club Sponsor - Ream Partnership
Partner - Impulse Leisure
Partner - Andrew Bellamy / Briggs Mechanical
Player Sponsor - Ascalon Building Services
Club Sponsor - Everyday Ltd
Partner - Hughes & Associates FM Ltd
Partner - Village Indiya
Main Sponsor - Colin Rate / Rates Ford
Partner - Jason Bedding / Trunk Logistics
Partner - David Graham / Wrightsure Insurance