Harbury Achieved their only Double of the Season
Hard Fought Positive Result
Harbury achieved their only double of the season as they `bookended’ their first win at Coventry Welsh at the start of the season with a hard fought positive result in their final match of the campaign. It has been a frustrating season for Harbury who opened their 2017/18 campaign by not only winning their pre season friendlies but also remaining unbeaten until the end of October, Their style of play was fast, open and exciting to watch as they put the guidance, advice and commitment encouraged by coach Ben Baseley. However, they lost a number of key players through injury with most of a long term basis. The season came off the rails following a loss at Tenbury in November. This undoubtedly affected the morale of the side. Indeed it took until mid January to turn things round when it moved from being a real drive for promotion to one avoiding the threat of relegation.
The spirit and determination shown in this match typified how they had started the season. It would not be unreasonable for Welsh to arrive with an expectation of victory, They had already achieved promotion along with Champions Stoke OB and no doubt the mindset would have been to add a 10th consecutive win and erase the loss at home and finish on a high. Perhaps they might have done had they not had a player red carded after 20 minutes when the levelled the scores at 7-7. That is of course conjecture and quite often team enjoying successes often manage to overcome such an upset.
Certainly, Welsh had the benefit of field position in the opening quarter though Harbury’s defence was watertight at this stage. A towering kick in open play by Ricky Alford was fatally allowed to bounce and centre Steve Alford, in his first match back after breaking his leg in December, used his pace to gather the ball and score beneath the posts. Brother Ricky adding the conversion.
Welsh’s quick left wing took advantage of a chip ahead to score wide out. There was an altercation between a Harbury and Welsh player. The latter striking the home player in front of the referee. He was red carded and the Harbury player received a yellow. After this was sorted out the Welsh goal kicker added an excellent conversion to level the scores. Harbury responded with another well taken try when Steve Alford cut through the defence to score beneath the posts. Brother Ricky adding the conversion. Welsh responded with an unconverted try to trail 14-12 at the break.
Welsh used the slope to their advantage in the opening phases of the second half and added a converted try to take a 19-14 lead. A penalty extended this to 22-14.
Harbury hit back with a fine converted try through to reduce the deficit to a single point as the match entered into the final quarter. Welsh once more gaining territory choose to add to their score with a further penalty rather than taking a lineout close to the home line and the score stood at 25-21 to the visitors.
A deep kick from Welsh was well fielded and the ball moved along the line. Ricky Alford took the pass well and brushed off a number of tacklers before chipping ahead. The Welsh hurriedly cleared the ball off the field. Harbury failed to make the most of two 5 metre line outs but then followed this and worked the ball wide to score in the corner and retake the lead 26-25 (and gain a try bonus point). The referee indicated that there was less than 3 minutes remaining. Harbury dealt with the restart and kicked deep for touch. Welsh were awarded a penalty and the referee called `final play’. They attempted to run the ball, Harbury defended and then cleared the ball for touch. An excellent win in a hard and demanding game of rugby.