Claverdon (22) v Harbury (13)
A poor 1st half proved too much
A poor first half proved to be the undoing of Harbury in this local derby. Although missing a number of regulars the first 40 minutes was a lacklustre and listless performance. Characterised by a lack of fire and commitment the visitors were beaten up front, lost key line outs and above all made some poor decisions.
This was not helped when Claverdon scored in the opening five minutes. They added another to take them 12-nil ahead within the opening quarter following a push over try. Harbury came back with a well struck penalty through Dave Rooney to reduce the deficit and although he struck another, Claverdon added their third to make the most of their territorial superiority and fully deserved a 17-6 lead at the break.
Harbury made several key changes this strengthened their pack and provided added fluency in the backline. Although, they conceded an early try to give Claverdon a bonus point the set piece moved to a far more even platform and on the 65th minute Tony Gear showed his pace and eased through the home cover for a converted try which reduced the deficit to nine points.
Harbury’s attempts to break through the home defence were fraught by good cover. Although, when opportunities did arise poor passing and occasional lack of conviction meant that clear cut chances were too often missed.
A little bit of level headed thinking would have given Harbury a loosing bonus point when they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. They opted for the scrum and only achieved a clearance kick for touch by Claverdon who were awarded a kick following Harbury’s too eager exchange at the set piece.
Much for Harbury too do but the much improved display in the second half was at least encouraging.