From the foothills of Mount Fuji and the bright lights of Tokyo the rugby action moved to Havant in Hampshire for a defining game in London Division 1.
Last season these old rivals had shared the spoils and, once again, they looked evenly matched. Thurrock, having won the toss, decided to go with the elements in their favour. This is always a risk as the first ten minutes of any encounter are usually neutral as teams test each other out. Subsequently anxiety often sets in at the end of a half if enough points haven't been scored to survive the inevitable pressure exerted in the second stanza by the team benefiting from a strong wind! This certainly was instrumental in this second successive defeat for the"Black and Whites".
Nevertheless Thurrock started very brightly and were soon in the Havant half. Unfortunately failure to find touch from attacking penalties severely restricted scoring opportunities. However, some barnstorming carries from Skipper, Charlie Russo and Joss Nunn gave Thurrock some good field position. This resulted in a great run from Tom Pool, who was having a great game, having recovered from the Flu. He crashed over and Dylan Fearon added the conversion before landing a good penalty from a difficult angle.
With the away side on top, Havant were getting desperate and just when another score seemed likely, a Havant forward slapped the ball out of Jake Bedding's hand in an act which probably would have resulted in a yellow card and a penalty; if only the referee had seen it!This was probably the seminal moment of the game as Havant now seized the initiative and with Harrison Young to the fore, they drove over for a try of their own. Although Joel Knight couldn't convert he added a penalty to reduce the deficit.
As the second half started, the wind strengthened and the rain began to fall incessantly. Any hope Thurrock had of the tide turning vanished as quickly as Wales World Cup hopes. Just like the Welsh, Thurrock had failed to take advantage of momentum and all was lost .
Thurrock struggled with their kicking and winger Scott Morris tore the defence asunder like a rampant Anthony Watson!
Yet another missed touch led to outstanding hooker, Jerome Trail blazing through some fragile rearguard action.
Now it was all one way traffic as conditions worsened and Thurrock were entrenched in their own half for all of the second period. Havant scored 29 unanswered points,gained a bonus pount victory and went to the top of the League.
Thurrock went home ruing the missed opportunity and consoled only by England's great victory over the All Blacks!
A weekend off for the men this weekend as England face South Africa in the World Cup Final with the club open from 8am for all of those that want to join us.
The Ladies then host Old Albanians on Sunday at Oakfield with kick off still to be confirmed.