London 2NE: Old Cooperians 40 Harlow 40
PUBLISHED: 12:56 26 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:56 26 September 2017
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Old Cooperians continued their unbeaten run in London Two North East with a try-fest of a draw against league new boys Harlow.
The visitors took an early lead within the first two minutes, as they capitalised on some lax defending from Coops to score under the posts.
But the hosts responded almost immediately, as the ball was worked wide for wing Harry Fayers to draw his side level, with Tony Bly adding the extras.
Kolade Awobowale then shook off the shock of not scoring in his last outing to put Coops ahead, before doubling his tally by finishing off a smart backs move as Coops took a 21-7 lead on the half-hour mark.
Harlow then fought back with a try of their own as their scrum-half sniped his way over from close range, before Coops lost a forward to injury, with player-coach Nik Grier entering the field of play.
Coops restored their two-score cushion moments later as scrum-half Jack Portsmouth broke down the blind side, passing to prop Nathaniel John who offloaded to Awobowale to complete his first-half hat-trick.
The visiting side then managed to squeeze in one more score before the interval, as Coops led 26-19 at the break.
Harlow opened the scoring in the second half to draw level as their forwards crashed over from close range.
But after soaking up pressure from the visitors, Coops scored twice in quick succession as Fayers outpaced the covering Harlow defence, before Luke Taylor crossed.
Craig Ratford converted both tries, as the hosts took a 40-26 lead with less than 10 minutes to play.
But the physical nature of the game took its toll on Coops, who lost Awobowale, Taylor and Bly to injury in quick succession, as the home side were made to play out the final moments of the game with 14 men.
Another injury reduced Coops to 13, and Harlow duly used their numerical advantage to score two converted tries to earn the draw.
Coops travel to Epping Upper Clapton, who are without a win in three outings so far this season, on Saturday.
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