Ipswich’s good run ended in Harlow
- Credit: James Ager
London 2 North Harlow 22 Ipswich 17 Following a three-match unbeaten run in November, sixth-placed Ipswich Rugby Club came unstuck against Harlow, the side just above them, on a freezing cold day in Essex, writes John Kornjaca.
Ipswich took an early lead after just three minutes with their powerful number 8 Cris Blom taking an inside pass from Carlton Littlechild, who had broken from a midfield scrum. Corey Button added a fine conversion for a 7-0 lead.
Just two minutes later, the Harlow fly-half took the ball on the Ipswich 10 metre and slipped a couple of weak tackles in midfield before side-stepping Littlechild to score and it was 7-5.
Harlow, playing in red shirts, then took a 12-7 lead following a catch and drive from a line-out on the Ipswich left flank with a fine conversion to follow.
A pair of yellow cards for Ipswich just before the break saw Harlow capitalise with another try for a 17-7 lead..
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But the final minute of the half saw a second Ipswich try. A well-worked Ipswich line-out, secured by lock Mike Graham, saw the ball moved to Blom running at full speed to crash through the Harlow defence.
A second Button conversion saw the two well-matched sides turn around with a score of 17-14 to Harlow.
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The second half commenced with Ipswich stringing together a couple of smart moves and some control as they went through their phases.
But Harlow pressed back, entering the Ipswich 22. Working patiently, the Reds held on to possession before eventually stretching the Ipswich defence to score a fourth try on 52 mins to make it 22-14.
Ten minutes later and Harlow had a penalty kick at goal for a chance to extend their lead but the kick sailed away to the left of the goal.
As the sides entered the last 10 minutes of play, Ipswich were again on top and threatening the Harlow line, but seemed unable to execute from close quarters.
Ipswich were awarded a penalty and Button secured the points from 26 metres to reduce the deficit to five.
But with little time left it was Harlow that were able to hang on to secure the win and vital league points.