League season ends on a high

By Nub News Reporter

9th Apr 2024 | Rugby


Great end to season at Oakfield.
Great end to season at Oakfield.

Thurrock 55, Holt 10

THURROCK completed their League season with a splendid fillip for their loyal fans at Oakfield on Saturday.

Even without the class of inspirational leaders, Ben Timson and Niall Clifford they ran in eight tries in a fitting finalé to the season's last pre- match luncheon and a bumper crowd.

Holt is a famous club from Norfolk, having produced England's most capped player, Ben Youngs as well as his father Nick and brother, Tom.

Freddie Steward, the England full back is another product of the club.

The Club is relatively young, founded in 1961 and playing its first game at Greshams school, where the Headteacher was Logie Bruce- Lockhart, a Scottish international!

The Oakfield ground looked magnificent in the early spring sunshine as the players and crowd stood in silence to reflect on the passing of two former players, Barry Lynn and Morgan Smith.

Thurrock surged straight on to the attack and a clever midfield move involving Scott Chitty and Câolan Watts-Adams created the space for the splendid Lawrence Brown to allow Kye Holloway to show a clean pair of heels to Oliver Woodrow.

Henry Bird celebrated his 100th game with a mighty touchline conversion.

With a strong south westerly preceding the periphery of "Storm Kathleen", and Marco the cameraman gripping the scaffolding, Holt entered their best period with star man, Thomas Jackson, rifling some tremendous screw kicks down wind.

In spite of some spirited attempts by Richard Mann, Oliver Pearse and Melvyn Gilmour, the Norfolk outfit could not capitalise on the field position, Jackson had established.

The Thurrock scrum has achieved dominance for much of the season, much to the delight of coaches, Dave Stevens and Dave Catchpole.

George Miles has had a superb debut season, while Lawrence Brown,Anthony Catchpole and Harry Clarke have been sensational in the absence of long term casualties Tom Wileman and Aaron Antrobus. Jack Cowman has been a real bootstrapper since his return.

Now that power started to pay dividends,allowing the back row of Jamie Orr, Jay Jennings and captain, Kodie Holloway the licence to spearhead an array of set-piece moves.

From one such scrum,Alex Jones looped around Rob Murphy before linking up with Angus Poole to send Holloway sprinting down the touchline,only to be denied by a last ditch tackle.

This was only a brief reprieve as arch poacher, Câolan Watts-Adams seized on a loose ball to increase his record tally for the season.

Now, this record superseded that of former locks Aaron Woodward and James Flavin but Tani Loka is still in pursuit of his team- mate and was soon to add one of his own, wrestling a ball from an opponent to twist over the line.

With Holt being reduced to thirteen men following a series of transgressions, the visitors conceded a penalty try to add to their woes.

However, Holt had not embarked upon such a long journey to give up the fight in a pusillanimous fashion. Following a period of sustained pressure, full-back Finlay Wilcox came in as first receiver before floating a difficult pass to Oliver Woodrow to beat the cover defence and reduce the half-time deficit to 24-5.

On several occasions this season, Thurrock had let slip a strong lead and the healthy crowd drew breath as the second half commenced.

They needn't have worried. With Brown and Jennings in line-out harmony, the driving maul was proving potent and, after a steady rumble, Jack Cowman powered over from short range, although there is no doubt that in the future the run in would have multiplied tenfold!

Now the centurion, Henry Bird, decided to stamp his mark on the game! Nothing short of sensational since signing for the club on a train to Bath, Henry started to drive into the heart of the Holt defence searching for hand- offs in the mode of John Devereux!

Fine counter attacking featuring Harry Reynolds and Kye Holloway led to frantic defence but an adroit switch from Alex Jones saw Bird gallop through the breach for a neatly executed try.

Three minutes later Watts-Adams and Jamie Orr worked in tandem to send Bird over with three displaced defenders struggling to hold up the inspired centre.

With two players receiving their marching orders Sam Goose charged over for a consolation for Holt, before the ever- alert,Alex Jones, saw the chance to take a quick tap for a fine opportunist try.

Harry Reynolds came flying into the line only to be denied by a last- ditch tackle from Wilcox. However ,Anthony Catchpole was denied the same fate as he sprinted over, with the grace of a startled cheetah and the power of an Olympic decathlete.

Elliot Chew and Will Lewis entered the fray to re- energise the team in the final quarter.

The season had started with a victory at Holt amidst great optimism.Sadly a long injury list and unavailability put paid to promotion hopes,but with youth prevailing and outstanding leadership from Ben Timson and Niall Clifford there were some great victories.

The fourth-placed finish was the highest for over ten years and the spectators were treated to some excellent rugby.

With the Academy thriving , the opening of the new school and access to truly amazing facilities, the future is incredibly exciting.

" Trust the magic of New beginnings."

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