A frustrating outcome for Harbury
This was a game that fitted that terrible sporting cliché - ` a game of two halves’
A frustrating outcome for Harbury as Claverdon snatched a draw in the final play of the match. Nonetheless, they can look no further than their failure to take clear cut opportunities in the first half.
This was a game that fitted that terrible sporting cliché - ` a game of two halves’ – but it was and the dominant factor was a strong wind blowing down the pitch. Claverdon had moved the match from their normal venue, in front of their clubhouse, to the top of the hill, a location cruelly exposed to the elements. The playing surface was badly cut up with several divots making play in some areas treacherous.
Harbury had the wind behind them in the first half and the obvious ploy was to ensure that the game was played deep into the opposition half. This was achieved to an extent but the out of hand kicking was not well judged and valuable positions were lost. Although, clearance kicks from the home backs were thwarted by the wind so that little distance was achieved. For twenty minutes Harbury squandered their possession and whilst the forwards won good set ball there were too many pick up and go attempts as a bout of white line fever appeared to dominate the mindset. Finally, they moved the ball out and full back Ricky Alford chose an excellent attacking line out to touch down close to the posts. He converted to take Harbury ahead 7-0. This lead did not last long as Claverdon were awarded a penalty and found a good touch, won the lineout and moved forward with a catch and go, a clever off load led to a smart try. The conversion was missed and the Harbury lead was cut to just two points.
Dropped passes did not help when the visitors took the game back to Claverdon eventually though a forward move paid off and number eight Dan Shinkwin squeezed over for an unconverted try.
Ricky Alford added a well taken third try just squeezing in at the corner. The conversion drifted wide and the half time score gave the visitors a 12 point lead at 17-5. Hardly enough with the wind playing such a dominant role.
Claverdon immediately took advantage of the elements and dominated field position just as Harbury had in the opening half. Claverdon were quicker to use their knowledge of the pitch and with the home half backs exercising control the deficit was quickly reduced. An early converted try made it 17-12. It was though some while later before they added an equalizing try to take it to 17-17. With both sides struggling to gain an upper hand mistakes occurred, principally dropped and hurried passes.
Into the final five minutes from a well taken lineout Seymour Smith made an excellent take and drove up field to the Claverdon 22 when he passed on the blindside to centre Charlie Gladden who ran in a fine try. The conversion was well wide.
In the final minutes play Harbury lost a back through a yellow card. Claverdon kicked deep for a lineout on the 22 and then executed a simple score as a forward cut through some woeful defence and touched down wide out. The conversion attempt was well wide and the referee called time.
A disappointing outcome for Harbury who did not listen to their coach’s advice in the first quarter when simple rugby would have resulted in a crucial score. The team need to take their time rather than rushing moves.