Rugby Union: Wanstead lead London Three North East after home win over title rivals Harlow

PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 February 2017

Wanstead players celebrate a try against Ilford Wanderers earlier in the season (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Wanstead players celebrate a try against Ilford Wanderers earlier in the season (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

London Three North East: Wanstead 31 Harlow 12

Wanstead moved to the top of London Three North East with a 31-12 win at home to title rivals Harlow.

The two teams went into the match occupying the top two spots in the division, with the Herons second, so it was little surprise when the opening exchanges developed into a cagey affair.

Wanstead looked eager to take on the huge Harlow forwards and gained early territory through powerful running from their mobile pack, while the Herons’ defence, which has been in superb form, tackled everything that came their way.

Once the match had settled down, the Roding Lane North club opened the scoring through an unconverted Mike Rugeley try, but Harlow hit back almost immediately with a converted effort of their own to take the lead.

With Wanstead still looking to stretch Harlow wide despite trailling, the hosts crossed for a second try of the first half when Nick Luxmoore powered through four tackles before dotting down, with Rugeley adding the extras as the Herons led 12-7 at the break.

Soon after the restart, Wanstead were able to put daylight between themselves and Harlow when Rugeley crossed for a second try, which this time he converted, though Harlow also added a converted try of their own to keep things tight.

With Harlow’s pack now tiring though, the Herons began to take advantage with their forwards rampaging all over the pitch, which eventually led to space being created for scrum-half Felix Harris to score a fourth try for the hosts and with it claim the bonus point.

In the closing moments of the match, Wanstead were able to complete the win in style when winger Tom Bean crossed for the hosts’ fifth try of the afternoon.

The victory put the Herons two points clear of Harlow at the summit, and James Reyburn’s men will hope they do not slip from that perch when they host Upminster in their next match on March 4.

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