Disappointing Outcome for Harbury

Woodrush 29 - 10 Harbury

Last Updated: Mar 19, 2014 09:13pm
Harbury, Stratford-on-Avon
By Jerry Birkbeck
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A disappointing outcome for Harbury in this top of the table clash as leaders Woodrush extended their unbeaten run to twelve matches and with the bonus point opened up a five point lead above second placed Harbury, who do have a match in hand.

Yet the score line does not reflect just how close for much of the match the game had been.  The principal difference was that Woodrush took their opportunities clinically whilst Harbury failed to transfer their territorial advantage into points.

Nonetheless, it was Woodrush who struck first with two tries, through smart play from their backs, in the opening eight minutes to take a 12 point lead. Harbury picked themselves up and good work by the forwards, especially in set play and at the breakdown enabled them to achieve significant territorial dominance. However, poor handling and too flat an attacking line – which was met with robust defence from the hosts – restricted the visitors to just a penalty through outside half Russ Clarke.

Woodrush, with the wind at their backs began the second half in lively fashion and early attempts to breach the visitors defence were met with good and determined tackling across the line.  Woodrush were awarded an early penalty and extended their lead to twelve points. It was notable that the Harbury pack was beginning to dominate the sets and a series of driving mauls took play into the home 22. The pressure eventually told and a well worked scrum saw a quick pick up by No 8 Rick Smith who was tackled just short of the line. Following two attempts to cross the line, the ball was moved quickly out, with second row Lloyd Storey taking contact and brilliantly offloading to flanker Tom Kittendorf who finished off the excellent effort of his fellow forward for a good try. Clarke converted to reduce the deficit to just five points and it was clearly apparent that the impetus had swung very much in Harbury’s favour,

However, Harbury dealt poorly with the restart, the ball not being taken effectively and allowed Woodrush’s sharp backs to pounce on this opportunity and work a try in the corner which was well converted from the touch line. This was the turning point of the match as it allowed  Woodrush to regain the initiative.

Harbury, though came back as they sought another converted try to at least gain a loosing bonus point and prevent their hosts from adding an extra point through scoring a fourth try. The forwards were causing the home pack considerable trouble as they buckled under some significant pressure from the Harbury pack.  A litany of dropped passes in key areas of the field  proved to be the visitor’s downfall as Woodrush took their opportunity Daz Kittendorf took the ball hard into the heart of the Woodrush defence, however support was not there quick enough and the Woodrush backs used the turn over to good effect feeding the ball quickly to the winger who found himself against forwards and rounded the defence to score.

In their quest for promotion this was undoubtedly a set back for Harbury as they lost only their second league game of the season and third in all games.  Harbury are only too well aware that whilst they have a game more left to play than Woodrush that if they are to achieve top spot that they will not only have to win their three remaining matches but also gain maximum points and hope that Woodrush fail to gain a bonus point as it is highly likely that they will win their remaining two games.

Harbury are at home to fourth placed Barton-under- Needwood and will be seeking revenge over the team that broke their unbeaten league run in December.

Photo: File pic







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