Thurrock 8

Westcombe Park 10

RUGBY: AFTER a few weeks of heavy rain, Thurrock were able to play on the first team pitch - but they lost this close encounter 10-8.

A brisk start from the home side saw Thurrock score a try as early as the fourth minute when Mark Sullivan was given space wide out.

Frankie Neale missed with the conversion. However Combe closed the gap with a penalty from fly Iain Gordon a few minutes later.

Despite plenty of effort neither side looked likely to break a deadlock that saw two sides tied down by their own inertia.

But then, at the 20 minute mark, the referee red carded a member of the Thurrock back row for a tackle that may just have deserved a yellow – but not a red. With only 14 men for an hour, Thurrock now had a hill to climb.

Kicks from hand were very impressive from both sides, but they did not deliver the points which Thurrock needed. There were no scores until late in the match’s first half.

Jake Barrand extended the gap to five with his first successful kick, to give Thurrock an 8-3 lead at half-time.

But time, territory and possession leaked away for the visitors but they still lacked penetration.

Only ten minutes remained when Combe, following a lengthy spell of pressure in Thurrock’s 22, at last crossed the line with a scrappy affair. Tim Kavanagh, was again the beneficiary.

With the score now locked at 8-8 the kick for the conversion assumed huge importance.

On an afternoon when the kicking of set pieces had not been the highlight, Iain Gordan held his nerve well, and calmly slotted the kick for the visitors to take the lead for the first time in the game.

Shortly after Combe had taken the lead for the first time Thurrock again exerting pressure and were rewarded with a penalty in the ruck.

But they sustained a yellow card as a result, so the teams were numericaly level for the first time in 55 minutes.

Thurrock had five minutes of sustained effort before the final whistle, but it was not to be.

Thurrock: Barrand, Farrell Gorman, Meek, Sullivan, Neale, Tiiterton, Brunger, Hulse, Bevans-Royston, Loka, Banks, Flavin, Cooper-Hicks, Retigan. Rep Skelton, Crowhurst, Carey.

l Thurrock are at home to Bury St Edmunds this week with the kick off at 3pm.