West Norfolk put on a scintillating second half performance in blustery conditions to secure a bonus point win against their promotion rivals.
The 41-12 victory at Gatehouse Lane keeps West in second place, with Old Cooperians now leap frogging Harlow into third. The hosts were in confident mood following a decent display against Lowestoft & Yarmouth.
West were able to field a strong side, although hooker Christian Newton-Walters was unfortunately forced to sit out due to a last-minute injury.
Nonetheless, the squad looked focused during the warm up, knowing that Harlow would prove tough opposition.
Choosing to go with the wind at their backs, West got off to a good start when a flowing backs move saw winger Jake Richardson outpace his opposite man to open West’s account.
However, Harlow hit back with a prolonged period of possession thanks to some tremendous mauling from the lineout.
West’s defence was stretched but was able to regroup and fend off the attack to eventually clear their lines.
A missed penalty after the half-hour mark seemed to be summing up West’s frustrating first half, until a break from the backline released full back Ross Biggs to go in.
The conversion was added by Lewys Weaver to give West a 14-0 lead at the interval.
Knowing that two tries with the wind wasn’t really good enough, the hosts upped their game and came out all guns blazing in the second half.
A brilliant period of defensive pressure ended with second row Ryan Walker charging down a clearance kick to regather the ball and score under the posts.
Weaver added the extras to make it 21-0 to West. Richardson then clinically finished a sublime backs move to pick up his second try of the day.
Harlow came back strongly in an attempt to close the gap and encamped West within a few metres of their own try line.
Despite some brilliant defensive work from the hosts’ forwards, the visitors eventually battered down the door to score from a close-range ruck.
Undeterred, West kept the pressure on and some great counter attacking from the likes of winger Alex Singleton, fly-half Sam Moses and centres Craig Edwards and Weaver was striking deep into Harlow territory.
A yellow card to one of the visiting forwards then enabled West to gain a bigger advantage.
A string of quickly-recycled rucks and powerful runs from Jamie Williamson and Will Greenwood saw the ball come out to Craig Blackmur, before passing to prop Lawrence Savage who burst through two tackles from 10 yards out to go over in the right corner.
Harlow came back at West again and were rewarded with a second try, before Richardson made sure West had the last word by completing his hat-trick, handing West a handsome 41-12 victory.
This weekend sees West host St Albans in their first Senior Vase fixture of the season. Kick-off is set for 3pm.
Adrian Flux MoM: Craig Edwards.
West Development squad came from behind to record an excellent 24-17 victory over Holt. Listers BMW / Trundley MoM: Ross Downs.