Redditch 10 - Harbury 17

Midlands 4 West (South)

Last Updated: Jan 28, 2014 08:10pm
Central, Redditch
By Jerry Birkbeck
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Rugby is played in some dire circumstance on occasions, but the horrendous weather on Saturday would take some beating!

Harbury found themselves on what would normally be an excellent playing surface. However, this had to be tempered by a wind of considerable force blowing directly down the pitch. This coupled with exceptionally heavy rainfall, thunder and more worryingly lightning did not present the most ideal of conditions.

Playing into the wind it was soon obvious that to keep the score line down to no more that ten points by half time would be an advantage. After just four minutes Harbury found themselves two thirds of the way to that total. A quick scrum in midfield to Redditch was well run by the home 10 who found his inside centre at hand who ran through non existent cover for the simplest of tries. The conversion was added and Harbury hadn't even come to the party. Skipper Gaz Evans drew his troops together reinforcing the need for greater steel and commitment. This was exemplified when minutes later a quick move from Redditch was stopped with an excellent tackle by TOM WEBB in the unusual position of full back. Gradually Harbury pulled themselves back into the match, but the wind and rain were not to their advantage. Both sides were struggling to retain possession in attack and Harbury's attempts to move play out of their half were to often thwarted as players slipped on the greasy surface. Redditch extended their lead on fifteen minutes through a straightforward penalty goal.

Harbury were frustrated on at least three occasions when clever breaks through the midfield by STEVE ALFORD and DAZ KITTENDORF were once more disrupted as the players and their support runners lost their footing. Harbury moved play to the home five metre line with a spell of sustained play but then were pushed back 60 metres down field as a stray pass was gathered and kicked deep with the aid of the wind.

Harbury though picked up their game in the second half, but the referee stopped the match to discuss further progress as lightning lit up the sky and torrential rain made conditions even worse. However, both captains decided to play on. Harbury took play down into the Redditch 22 and from a strong forward drive centre KITTENDORF brushed aside some desperate defence to touch down for a fine try. RICHARD MAZUREK converted. Harbury added a further try through another strong approach by the pack with DAN TAYLOR on hand to put his team ahead, again MAZUREK converting. Any advantage of the elements lessened significantly as the wind dropped and the rain abated. Harbury though added a penalty to extend their lead to seven points. Once more they were unlucky when a number of slashing breaks were hindered by the pitch surface.

In the final ten minutes Redditch were awarded a series of penalties that enabled them to work their way upfield. From a series of driving mauls and attacking scrums the home forwards tried to break the excellent defence of their visitors. Harbury conceded several penalties close to the line, although the reasons for the decisions were not always entirely clear. Nonetheless, Harbury stood firm and amply demonstrated the total commitment that skipper EVANS had asked for after the hosts early try. The sheer determination and refusal to yield showed great character from all the players and is something that will be needed to the full over the remaining seven league matches if Harbury are to gain promotion. A credit though to both teams as they made their way off to warm showers after  playing in some of the worst conditions imaginable.

As a footnote Redditch seconds match on an adjoining pitch was abandoned after 50 minutes and twenty miles away at Middle Road Harbury 2nd's Warwickshire League match against Old Laurentians was also abandoned after 57 minutes with the visitors leading 17-14. The match will have to be replayed later in the season.




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