and very much needed
Deserved and very much needed leagues win for Harbury, their first since the beginning of November. This was a game against a side that had beaten them in Worcestershire – an outcome that seems to have hung over Harbury since. Certainly, their form has dipped and winning this match was a priority. There was no sense of the over confidence that characterised their previous meeting when they seriously underestimated the abilities of Tenbury.
Harbury started positively and despite some fine defence from the visitors they moved the ball quickly along the back line and excellent following by left wing Paul Evans of a deep kick by full back Ricky Alford enabled him to touch down wide out. The conversion was missed but Harbury moved 5-0 ahaed after eleven minutes of play.
Tenbury belied their position at the foot of the table with solid set pieces and some strong running from their backs. Harbury defended well and the visitors were unable to take any advantage. Tenbury were slightly too keen on occasions and were caught offside and forced into making the occasional clumsy tackle in their enthusiasm to close down their opponents. This was typified when Alford made a strong run towards the goal line, drew the cover and passed to the supporting Evans who was stopped in the act of scoring with a high tackle. The referee was immediate is his decision in awarding Harbury a penalty try so taking Harbury 12-0 ahead.
Alford who had a fine game throughout was finding deep positions in the Tenbury half with some good kicks out of hand either in open play or from penalty awards.
Harbury, though, lost some ground advantage through poor line outs an area that they need to improve upon.
However, the home forwards kept up pressure on the Tenbury line with a well organised driving maul and Tom Dodds took the plaudits for the pack as he was driven over the line. Alford added the conversion for a 19-0 half time lead.
Harbury extended their lead from the restart with the forwards chasing the kick off well and with pack leader Chris Milburn to the fore as he caught man and ball well. Tenbury were penalised and Alford added the conversion. A further penalty extended the lead to 25-0.
However, with a few decisions in their favour Tenbury showed that they were not there just to make up the numbers and some patience and hard work by their forwards gave them a well taken scoring opportunity which they took and with a converted try made it 25-7. Once more though their enthusiasm worked against them and a further penalty made it 28-7 to the hosts.
Injuries broke the Harbury rhythm as they looked to add a fourth try and a bonus point. However, a silly penalty was awarded against them and for the final five minutes were reduced to fourteen with a forward yellow carded.
Tenbury used this to their advantage and showed that they have considerable spirit and youth on their side and no lacking of skill as they added a try wide out. They will prove a difficult side at home as their recent results have shown against the higher placed sides in the league. Another win will undoubtedly come their way before the end of the season.
One very pleasing aspect of this match was the excellent management of the game by the referee, a young 17 year old Warwickshire Referee’s graduate, in this his first league match. He was positive and spot on in his decision making and looks to have the ability and awareness to go far in the game, certainly one of the best that players and supporters have seen this season.