Norwich punished for making some basic mistakes

Harlow 12, Norwich 6: Norwich knew this would be a tough game from previous encounters with Harlow two years ago.

Even so they will be disappointed to have come away with only a losing bonus point as they finished much the stronger, with decision making and some basic errors costing them the game.

The preparation was not helped by two late injury call-offs. with hooker Tom Whiskin and debut replacement Aaron Nicholson ruled out which brought Terry Boyd in from the Lions and veteran George Pope.

Harlow were first on the board with a try by Verna Kertze converted by Michael Dobbs which came from an attacking scrum that saw the ball moved quickly along the line, where Kertze hit it at pace.

Harlow missed two penalties within the first 15 minutes during which time Norwich had hardly seen opposition territory. Norwich gradually fought their way into the Harlow 22 where they won a penalty that Rob Micklethwaite converted.

Norwich continued to pressure but poor passing and decision making let Harlow off the hook and turned the pressure around. Both teams missed a kick at goal but the visitors finished the half stronger.

Norwich, attacking uphill in the second half, held their own but allowed too much ball to be turned over at the breakdown and many promising moves faltered.

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The visitors gradually ground their way uphill and were awarded a penalty on 10 metres that proved to be just beyond Rob Micklethwaite's range but he had another opportunity shortly afterwards, which was successful, to bring the scores to within a point.

Norwich continued to take the fight to Harlow but from well within the opposition half Josh Ives went down the blindside with no support and found Lee Harron eager to take the ball and scorch down the right wing belying his 38 years, taking play deep into Norwich territory from which they forced their way over the line. The conversion was missed, making the score 12:6.

Norwich continued their progress upfield but despite second row Simon Darby coming within inches of the line, Harlow held them at bay.

With the final Norwich tap penalty pass within reach of the line being adjudged forward the game ended with Harlow breathing a sigh of relief.