HARWICH AND DOVERCOURT II 52
ALDEBURGH AND THORPENESS 12
Eastern Counties League
division three south
HARWICH continued their quest to finish top of the table.
They put in a solid performance to secure a bonus-point win which leaves them top of the table and equal on points with second-placed Thurston.
However, they have a better points difference with one game remaining.
Harwich now travel to Halstead on March 25.
The Templars, who have already secured third spot, are unable to catch the top two but will be a tough test.
Harwich will be looking to control their own destiny with another bonus point which should be sufficient with the points advantage to finish top.
Skipper Oly Bray was injured for Saturday's game and with vice-skipper Sam Jewel enjoying his run in the first team, there was a return for veteran scrum-half Mark Bow and hooker Lewis Inglis.
Sam Male was fit enough to take the number ten shirt and there were league debuts for wingers Mark Griggs and Adam Harris.
Veteran back Kier Blacker also made his first appearance of the season.
Harwich made a strong start and nearly took the lead in the first few minutes, only to spill the ball just short of the line.
However, number eight Josh Edwards soon broke from the back of a scrum to open the home side's account for the day. Craig Wilson was unable to convert.
Edwards, playing with confidence, soon crossed the line again after Harwich broke the Aldeburgh defence in the middle of the park. Wilson converted this time.
Harwich were dominating but a high level of unforced errors was hampering their progress.
Aldeburgh then opened their account with an individual try from their stand-off.
The host soon re-established their dominance with tries from Wilson, Lewis Kerley and prop Rob Kemp to establish a 19-7 lead.
Aldeburgh turned over Harwich ball on the halfway line to run in unopposed and open the second-half scoring.
However, Harwich regained their composure and started to make the most of their possession.
Griggs went close to extending the lead as he touched down over the line - only to be called back for an earlier infringement.
Soon after his team were reduced to 14 as flanker Simon Pitham was yellow-carded after a string of infringements.
Being a man down seemed to be the catalyst for a Harwich resurgence.
They closed ranks and stepped up the tempo, looking sharp on the offensive and being that yard quicker in defence.
Matt Stace, Blacker and Harris all came off the bench and bagged a try apiece as the strength and injection of pace was too much for a flagging defence.