Essex League division 1A

HARWICH produced an excellent performance to topple the second-placed side.

The home team kicked off and won the ball, making inroads into the Billericay half.

However, they lost the ball in a loose carry.

Their opponents quickly transformed defence into attack, sweeping down the field and scoring the opening try.

With the try converted, it was soon 7-0 and things were not looking good for the Harwich.

However, they settled into their game, gaining territorial advantage and putting the opposition defence under pressure.

With their forwards winning and retaining a lot of possession, the game turned in Harwich's favour.

From a rolling maul, second-row forward Kyran Green was able to get the ball over the line for a try, which full-back Sam Male converted.

Slowly, the home side began to dominate in the forwards and this gave outstanding number eight Simon Palmer an opportunity, which he didn’t turn down, smashing his way over the line to give his side a 12-7 lead.

Male just missed the conversion.

Continuing to make inroads into Billericay territory, Harwich were awarded a penalty which Male slotted over to extend the lead to 15-7.

With time running out in the first half, Billericay showed why they were second in the table, sweeping down the field and scoring an unconverted try.

Both teams struggled to find their rhythm at the start of the second half but the home side, with their forwards working hard, began to take control.

Following a ruck in midfield, the ball was passed back to Male, who looked up and kicked across the field for left-winger Adam Palmer to take an excellent catch.

The catch took him past his opposite number, giving him an opportunity to make ground down the left.

He had other ideas than just making ground and, thanks to a wonderful turn of speed and some good footwork, he beat three covering defenders to score a wonderful try.

The conversion was missed.

The team seized upon this to show some confidence in looking after the ball and making ground. From a line out ten yards out, the forwards, who were in almost total control, drove over the line for an unconverted try, touched down by hooker Jack Cairns.

Harwich were soon back on the attack, with their backs running freely and making a lot of ground. Centre Lewis Kerley was passed the ball 25 metres out.

Running a good line and at pace, he broke through the defence to score a great try.

Stand-off Sean J Mills took over the kicking duties and duly made the conversion, making the score 32-12.

The home side were clearly the dominant team, with the visitors struggling to win any ball or get into their hosts' half.

Harwich were awarded a penalty which Mills kicked, extending the lead by another three points.

Some niggle had started to surface in the game and this had threatened to break out a couple of times, with both teams captains having been warned.

Unfortunately, following a knock on by Harwich, a fracas started and Male, Cairns and a Billericay centre were red-carded.

Down to 13 men, the home team rallied well against the 14 in opposition.

Arguably the best try of the game was scored in this period.

Harwich won the ball at a lineout just inside their opponent's half.

The ball was moved quickly out to the left wing, where Adam Palmer was waiting.

Taking the ball at pace, he went on a fabulous in and out run, beating several defenders and running under the posts to score a wonderful try which Mills converted.

This was the final score, giving Harwich a great 42-12.

Captain George Brunning had led his troops fantastically from the front but, with two exceptional tries, it was winger Palmer who was awarded man-of-the-match.

Tomorrow, Harwich take a break from the league to play in the national cup competition, the Junior Vase, at home to Dagenham.