Harts through to Essex Cup Semi-Finals
Report by Paul Head
Rochford Hundred Harts XV put in a fantastic performance against a VERY strong Upminster side to keep there Cup dreams alive. It was a display of power and pace and a real togetherness that kept them in the tie and eventually secured the WIN in front of a good home crowd.
Rochford started well, a poor kick to start the game from Upminster resulted in a scrum midfield. The front row of Illingworth, Hughes and Irvine showed there power to ensure a solid scrum and great service for scrum half Chipper to get the backs moving.
Lively centre Andy Baker, rolling back the years, powered past his opposite man set away flying wing Marshall who then returned the pass to Andy Baker who was in support to receive the ball again and to dot down for the opening score, Rochford 5 – 0 Upminster.
Upminster then regrouped and began to control the game, making a number of good runs through their pack and backs eventually the pressure told and they were able to break the line to score a converted try, Rochford 5 – 7 Upminster.
Upminster still controlled the game but some resolute defence kept them at bay but silly penalties were hurting the boys from Magnolia Road which Upminster took advantage of and their excellent goal kicking adding 6 points, Rochford 5 – 13 Upminster.
Rochford knew that Upminster were going to struggle to break down their defence and took this advantage into their open play also. Some excellent running from Hughes, Bacon and Duboux were causing Upminster problems. Chipper controlling the attacks was then able to utilise the back line from the forwards excellent work at ball retention. A powerful scrum on the Upminster 5 metre line saw Chipper wrestle the ball from opposing scrum half and to crash over the line he also added the conversion to get Rochford well and truly back in the game.
Half Time Rochford 12 – 13 Upminster.
Rochford were slow to start the 2nd half and went further behind as Upminster managed to eventually break the line from sustained pressure to go further ahead with a converted try, Rochford 12 – 20 Upminster.
That was the last we saw of Upminster however and Rochford dominated the remainder of the game. Excellent work from the forwards showed domination in the scrum and the line out started to click also to provide the backs a superb platform of which Andy Baker took advantage of again to score out wide to close the gap, Rochford 17 – 20 Upminster.
With the minutes fading despite a number of excellent efforts Rochford were denied further scores by good well organised defensive work from Upminster that was until the game entered the last 10 minutes when again a powerful display from the forwards managed to set the platform once more for the backs to attack and some quick thinking from Doherty showed a clean pair of heels to side step the last man to score an excellent try converted by Ashton.
Rochford 24 – 20 Upminster.
Rochford saw out the last few minutes of the game by again patience and control around the ruck and finally the referee blew his whistle to end the game much to the delight of the home side as well as the home crowd who witnessed a great team performance a foundation that the Harts have been working on all season.
FINAL SCORE – Rochford 24 – 20 Upminster
The win sees Rochford through to the semi-finals of the Essex Cup where the will host Thurrock on the 11th March. ON… ON…