Low point of the 1st 1/2 of the season ...
... 1 of only 2 wins for Thurrock in the season
Barnes had the advantage of the wind in the first half but with hindsight it didn't seem to make a significant difference to the outcome despite the team with the wind scoring twice the points of the other. The visitors kicked-off long; Thurrock kicked back high then Barnes kept ball in hand before being penalised for not releasing. The kick took the home team to a line-out 20 metres into the opposition half. From that they released to centre and broke through the line then recycled twice tight and both times to the blind side and prop Brunger forced his way over wide-out inside 2 minutes. Neale put over a very good conversion. Thurrock secured the restart and kept ball in hand then were forced into touch still in their own half. They stole the first line-out then launched an up-and-under; this wasn't dealt with and Thurrock got the ball and broke away strongly into the other 22. The defence got back to get the first scrum put-in 17 metres out. From it the visitors kicked for territory then conceded the second penalty near halfway. This one Thurrock ran and they recycled 5 times before releasing wider. They made yards before being intercepted at the next pass. Barnes kicked again for territory; an opposition pass was thrown into touch. Again the line-out was stolen, this time when the ball was thrown at the end of the line-out. Thurrock got into the other half before being penalised. A very good kick then took the visitors to their line-out 10 metres from their opponents' goal line. Their pack tried a rolling maul and when this was held, 1 metre out, they released to centre Hersey who went to the line before 10 minutes. McIntyre converted.
Thurrock had a man in front of the kicker at the restart giving Barnes a scrum back. They chipped through the line after the scrum; Thurrock kicked the ball back longer and Barnes knocked on a bobbling ball just outside their own 22. The visitors wheeled the scrum then hacked on the loose ball to touch. Quickly Thurrock took the throw-in then were penalised at the next breakdown just inside the opposition 22. Barnes' kick took them into the other half and they released to centre from the line-out. Next they chipped ahead and too far, resulting in a 22 drop-out. Flanker Smyth made a very good run back to the 22 where the defence got the next put-in. From that they chipped over. Barnes played the ball but the Ref. went back to give them a scrum 12 metres inside their opponents' half. From this Hersey made an excellent break before he was stopped just before the line. The ball was recycled to backing up centre Van Buuren who touched down near the posts at 17 minutes. McIntyre added. The visitors secured the restart before the opposition got a scrum at Barnes' 10 metre line. An error at the back-row pick up gave the visitors the next scrum and from that they advanced with a couple of recycles to get another not far inside the other half. Thurrock got a free-kick for feeding and another 10 metres and their pack ran the ball. Barnes forced a turnover at the first breakdown. The visitors now kept ball in hand and recycled 8 time before the opposition forced an error to get a scrum 6 metres into their own half. Thurrock released to centre where the ball was immediately dropped; wing Wilde picked it up and ran to the line after 24 minutes. McIntyre kicked the extras,
A couple of errors after the restart resulted in a Thurrock line-out near halfway and from that they recycled tight 5 times without advancing to get a penalty which they kicked to touch 28 metres out. From this they released wide and broke through to get another penalty 5 metres out. Again they opted for a line-out and from this their pack drove over with flanker Flavin on the ball before the half-hour. Neale added. Thurrock secured the restart and launched an up-and-under that Barnes dropped. Advantage was played and they recycled twice before dropping, giving the visitors a put-in near halfway. Barnes kicked ahead after the scrum then a kick back resulted in a Thurrock line-out back near halfway. From this they recycled well without advancing before being penalised for not releasing. The visitors kicked for a line-out to 15 metres out. Again their line-out was stolen; Thurrock then broke out strongly well into the other half with very good varied recycling until penalised and in addition losing a forward for 10 minutes. The kick took the visitors to a line-out not far into the opposition half. They threw this not-straight and the home team opted for another line-out. Soon after they were penalised in possession and a very good touch kick took Barnes to a line-out 7 metres out. Their pack set for a drive and when this went down 2 metres out, the defence lost another man for 10 minutes. The visitors chose a scrum and advanced 4 metres then were held; they recycled the ball before Thurrock hacked ahead a loose ball. This was comfortably dealt with and Barnes recycled 3 times then kicked laterally for Wilde to get and score before the halftime whistle. McIntyre added. 14 - 28 then was a fair reflection of the half, given that the home team had received 2 yellow cards. The second half would be very different.
Thurrock regained their second-half restart and recycled 8 times before chipping laterally and regaining; the ball was passed to centre Skelton who crossed wide-out after a minute and a quarter. Neale added with an excellent conversion. The visitors regained their restart; they recycled 4 times before kicking and this got them a scrum 27 metres from their opponents' line. From that they released to centre and recycled once before advancing then were forced into touch 7 metres out. Thurrock won their line-out and kept ball tight but were very soon turned over and with this Barnes no. 8 Sharp forced his way over not far from the posts after 6 minutes. McIntyre missed the conversion.
Inside 3 minutes Thurrock reduced the deficit to 7 points. Barnes dealt with the restart and returned an up-and-under; Thurrock fielded this and scored without the visitors touching the ball again. Brunger got his second try after some very good recycling, a break out wide and a good offload. The conversion was wide. The visitors got a scrum as a result of their restart and a penalty soon after. They kicked for a line-out 7 metres out then threw that not-straight. Thurrock cleared to touch at their 22 after the scrum and from the line-out Barnes tried for a rolling maul and when this was held the opposition were awarded the put-in. From their scrum Thurrock released to centre and broke to halfway before the opposition got another scrum. After an error from each team, Thurrock got a put-in 5 metres inside Barnes' half and from that they varied their recycling well to advance to the 22 where the defence got the next scrum. The visitors kept the ball in to get a penalty and kicked this to touch at the opposition 10 metre line. Coming through the line Thurrock got the tapped ball and scored from that without Barnes touching the ball again. Very good tight recycling through 8 phases before trying wider ball then 2 more recycles saw no.8 Banks over at 24 minutes. The conversion was wide; just 2 points the deficit.
The visitors regained their restart and recycled once before being penalised for not releasing. Thurrock kicked to just outside the opposition 22 then threw their line-out long and Barnes got that ball and cleared to touch, not far, for another line-out to defend. From this the home team advanced keeping the ball tight through 4 phases before the defence force an error to get the put-in 16 metres out. After the scrum Thurrock were offside and the visitors cleared to touch again not far but then their pack drove from the line-out. This went down still inside Barnes’ half and the opposition got the next scrum. An error soon gave Barnes a put-in then another one to Thurrock. From this they put together a good set of 7 phases, making 30 metres then they were penalised 15 metres out. The visitors cleared to their 22 and from the line-out soon released to centre the kicked ahead after recycling. Thurrock ran back strongly, breaking through at centre and an offload got them back attacking at the 22. Three recycling got them a penalty still at the 22 but in centre field and Neale kicked for a 1 point lead with 5 minutes to go. The restart resulted in a Barnes scrum and this was followed by a penalty against Thurrock 13 metres into their half. McIntyre’s kick was short. The ball was cleared to touch then the visitors threw their line-out not-straight and were penalised. Thurrock kicked to just outside the opposition 22 and recycled 3 times from their line-out until an error was forced. The visitors adventurously ran the last possession from defence before their final error.
Bright before the start, yet mainly overcast then clearing later as it got darker with Venus prominent in the South-West before stars were visible; cold, dry, wind along the pitch from the North, the pitch firm; floodlights in use.