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Harbury 5 - 42 Long Buckby

RFU Junior Vase Midlands Quarter Final

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2013 03:10pm
Harbury, Stratford-on-Avon
By Jerry Birkbeck
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Whilst Harbury lost to the better side in this Midlands Quarter Final of the RFU Junior Vase they sadly did lacked the commitment and urgency to make a decent game of it.

In the opening quarter of play Harbury were on the back foot. They perhaps were surprised at the commitment and urgency of Long Buckby. The visitor’s team has been together for a number of years having evolved from a successful Colts team. Although they have suffered successive relegations from Midlands 2 East into Midlands 4 they have now found the momentum to challenge for both promotion and cup success. On the former front they too are like Harbury in that they top their league.

On the face of it this suggested that potential for a fascinating match. However, after ten minutes it was evident that this was unlikely to be the outcome. Harbury conceded five penalties but the Buckby 10 missed both attempts. Harbury were under pressure at the set piece, where Bucky exerted a strong presence, but more significantly it was the aggressive running from their backline and excellent support play that rocked Harbury. Within fifteen minutes Buckby were fourteen points ahead, through two well taken tries. Harbury’s defence was porous with too many tackles missed.

Eventually at the beginning of the second quarter Harbury began to show some assertiveness and from a well controlled catch and drive TOM KITTENDORF grounded the ball. The conversion was missed but the improvement was evident. However, any thoughts that this might kick-start a revival was dashed as Buckby added two tries with some clever running lines though helped by some poor home defence.

This gave Buckby a deserved 28-5 half time lead. The visitors may have quite reasonably thought that with the slope and wind in their favour that they would cruise the second half. That they did not owed much too some changes in the forwards, together with greater intensity and aggression from the hosts. Whilst Buckby added an early converted try they were met with a sterner resistance. Nonetheless, excellent defence from Bucbky in the final quarter prevented Harbury from using the territory and possession they gained effectively. Moreover at a breakdown, the ball squirted loose and was well picked up by the Buckby right wing who ran from his 22 for a sharp try.

Harbury can reflect on this match and, whilst accepting that a few key players were missing, recognise that a more aggressive approach is essential in the second half of the season. Nonetheless, they cannot deny that Long Buckby were deserved winners and that even with a full strength committed team the outcome, whilst probably being closer, would have been the same.

We wish Long Bucky well on their path to Twickenham and will watch with interest their progress.

Harbury, meanwhile, can lick their wounds, and use a spell of rest and recovery before playing their first game in 2014 away to Coventrians.

Harbury 2’s lost 20-10 in a friendly to their counterparts from Long Buckby.