Harlow 12 Norwich 29: Forwards impress in excellent start to new season
- Credit: Archant
Norwich's bonus point win was secured by a dominant performance built on some outstanding work from the forwards, who provided a platform to build on all afternoon.
A well struck 35 metre penalty from Mike Lawton got the visitors started inside 10 minutes as they set up camp in the Harlow half.
The first Norwich try came from some strong counter-rucking from the forwards to turn the ball over, after which they attacked down the left side. They were held up just short but recycled the ball and Paul Micklethwaite dived over in the corner, with Lawton landing an excellent conversion.
Harlow were reduced to 14 when the replacement back slapped down a final pass aimed at Conan Hoey on the left wing who was in the clear about 15 metres out. Norwich opted for the scrum and they went blind, passing to Hoey who rounded the defence to score. Lawton added the conversion.
Norwich scored again when Chris Parrott weaved his way around several attempted tackles to register an excellent solo try that Lawton converted.
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With half-time looming a Norwich pass went loose and Harlow gratefully accepted the gift, diving on it to score and converting to reduce the arrears to 7-24.
After the break, despite their dominance, Norwich become increasingly careless and seemingly frantic to score. Harlow lost their hooker to the bin for coming round the wrong side of the ruck and kicking the ball away but still Norwich found it impossible to cross the line.
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Harlow went down fighting and scored their second try against the run of play when they stretched the Norwich defence wide on the left and evaded the tackles. The kick was missed.
Norwich again forced play back to the Harlow line and finally the pressure told and a more patient build-up allowed Tristan Smith to score in the left corner, with the conversion being missed.
Harlow never gave up and Norwich had to defend the final minutes on their line, the defence once again being resolute.
Whilst very satisfied with their opening day win, Norwich will know that they have to exert greater composure to convert their pressure into points, particularly in games where they do not enjoy such forward dominance.