A bonus win for Harbury

Harbury 27 - 6 Coventry Welsh

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2014 09:50am
Harbury, Stratford-on-Avon
By Jerry Birkbeck
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Harbury continued their promotional push with a bonus victory over Coventry Welsh. However, they made hard work of it after an emphatic start in the opening five minutes.

Kicking off into strong sunshine they took play directly to Welsh and the forwards and backs combined well finishing off good support play which allowed GAZ EVANS to touch down wide out. The standard of back play then lacked presicion and sharpness and too often players choose the wrong option with ball in hand. The forwards were producing good quality ball but Harbury were guilty of not moving the play wide with players too often cutting inside and telegraphing moves that were easily read by the Welsh defence. Moreover, too many penalties were being conceeded through simple errors being made and then compounded by the same errors being repeated. This litany of penalties allowed the Welsh back into the game as field position was surrendered by Harbury. This allowed the visitors to take the lead through two well struck penalties. Harbury retained the initiative through a RUSS CLARKE penalty and a half time score of 8-6.

Harbury commenced the second half in a positive fashion and a scything run by centre DAZ KITTENDORF took play into the Welsh 22. Harbury then showed their strength in the sets when the drove the opponents backwards in the first scrum of the half and were awarded a penalty which was kicked to touch. Harbury won the line out and play moved to within two metres of the goal line. The effort was held up and a five metre scrum was awarded.The home pack used their dominance and no 8 TOM KITTENDORF added the try.

Although in the ascendancy Harbury were guilty of not moving the ball wide out and the Welsh defence held firm and the hosts continued to leak possession. As time moved on Harbury began to try to force play and this inevitably resulted in mistakes, too often frustratingly close to the line. In the final quarter another Harbury scrum produced dividends and flanker DAN TAYLOR snatched the ball to drive over the line. CLARKE adding the conversion.

Harbury though aware that they had won the match knew the significance of a bonus point, which could prove to be crucial in the final rounds of the season. A well taken line out 10 metres  from the visitors goal line was well gathered and the pack drove the Welsh back and in the  process of scoring were adjudged to have knocked on. Harbury were becoming increasingly frustrated and another error just 10 metres from the line provided Welsh with  the chance to clear the ball out of play at the resulting scrum. Though the put in was struck cleanly the home pack drove their opponents and as the scrum half tried to gather the ball it was expertly ripped from him by DAN TAYLOR who went through at pace and scored beneath the posts for an excellent try. CLARKE converted and the referee called no-side.

An excellent performance by the forwards especially in the second half when they raised their game significantly and dominated play. Coventry Welsh defended well but Harbury were gulity in not moving the ball wide enough on several opportunities.

Harbury have a week out of league action and will play a friendly against opponents to be sought from the fixture pool. They head the league but are hotly pursued by Atherstone,Barton under Needwood and Woodrush. It was Atherstone's turn to sit out of the league, as of course happens with an eleven team structure. However both Barton and Woodrush enjoyed bonus points wins and the former have a game in hand. Atherstone are away to Barton and Woodrush visit Claverdon this weekend.

Harbury 2nds were frustrated for the second week running with a cancelled match. Last week it was the weather but on this occasion visitors EVESHAM cried off mid morning on Saturday and no local teams were available to take their place. This left 25 players without a game. They too are in the pool this weekend.

Photo: File pic




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