VPs Day Nail Biter
Earlier in the season the game at Claverdon ended as a 24-24 draw
These two Clubs have been playing one another at one level or another for over 50 years. Most matches have been close with little more than one or two score between the teams.
Earlier in the season the game at Claverdon ended as a 24-24 draw. The return saw a mere two points separate the sides. The match was as tight as the final result indicated. Claverdon, with their position for next season in the league secure, were keen to gain local bragging rights Harbury, meanwhile needed the win to help ensure their safety. The result being crucial.
A strong wind blew down the pitch towards the Clubhouse and this helped the visitor’s game management with the aim to gain territorial advantage from which to launch their attacks.
They took a 3-0 lead into the first quarter with a penalty when Harbury were caught offside.
Harbury responded with an excellent try. They initially attempted `route one’ through their forwards but this was frustrated and they were penalised. A change of approach through the backs and keeping the ball in hand enabled centre Daz Kittendorf to use his strength and touch down way for a deserved try, Ricky Alford's conversion attempt striking the upright.
Just before half time Claverdon regained the lead when they forced their way through the home cover for a converted try, and move ahead 10-5 at the break.
Harbury keen to regain the initiative and good use of the wind took them deep into the Claverdon 22. Quick won ball and moving the ball quickly enabled replacement centre Steve Alford to use his pace to break the line and a simple offload to brother Ricky add a second try. This was Steve's return to rugby after a broken bone in his leg had led to his unavailability since December. Brother Ricky also added the conversion.
Harbury were in the driving seat at this stage but they let a couple of clear cut opportunities begging when the final passes were dropped. They added a further converted try to extend the lead to nine points in the 68th minute.
Claverdon were not prepared to lie down and came back strongly to dominate possession and move the ball quickly and effectively. They were helped immensely when Harbury were reduced to 14 players following Daz Kittendorfs yellow card.
The visitors responded with a well taken try and with the conversion added narrowed the gap to just two points.
They did have two more opportunities to regain the lead and place the hosts under pressure. A 35 metre angle penalty went wide and then the key moment of the game occurred in the final minutes. Claverdon won quick ball at the breakdown and took the ball wide to give their left wing the chance to score. He was though effectively checked by full back Alford, who took the man, ripped the ball from him and then kicked the ball out of hand to touch and so gain his side 40 metres downfield.
The game finished minutes later in midfield and Harbury kicked the ball out for a satisfying win in a tight competitive match which both teams contributed to immensely.