3 months ago
By David Nance
Harborough travelled to Market Bosworth on Saturday to take on Vipers in the County Bowl final.
Harborough travelled to Market Bosworth on Saturday to take on Vipers in the County Bowl final. In very wet and greasy conditions the players from both teams deserve credit for playing some exciting rugby. Harborough started the stronger and pinned Vipers back in their 22. Although the Vipers defence initially held firm the pressure eventually told and after a trademark run by Harry Parker the ball was recycled and picked up by Sam Wellicome who made no mistake in diving through for the try that with Parker’s conversion put Harborough 7-0 in the lead. Vipers fought back and reduced the deficit with a penalty but with Harborough surging forward they added a further 3 points through the Parker boot and looked in control. With Charlie Beard kicking well from the base of the scrum they kept Vipers pinned back but the game then turned. The Harborough backs were making ground with Geordan Stuart calling the shots at 10 and when the ball went to Will Marriot he made excellent ground before being tackled but was deemed to have not released the ball. A penalty was given but worse still Marriot received a yellow card to the shock of both teams. With Harborough a man short Vipers went on the attack and despite some brave defending the pressure told and with the last play of the half Vipers scored the try that with the conversion gave them an unlikely 13-10 half-time lead. The game remained even in the second half but Vipers had an excellent kicker in Matt Evans who slotted 2 more penalties to put Vipers 19-10 in the lead. Harborough thought that they were unlucky not to have penalties awarded to them but with Vipers bringing on strong replacements they took control of the game. Despite some heroic defending by Harborough, Vipers eventually scored their second try that with the conversion gave them a 26-10 lead. With Vipers riding high at the top of the league, having won 3 times the games that Harborough had won, this could have been a one-sided contest but it was from it although Harborough’s task was made even harder as they received 2 more yellow cards. The first to skipper Sam Blades for boring in at the scrum on the half way line. This seemed very harsh given that there had been very few scrum penalties during the game although the second yellow card for hands in the ruck was no doubt justified and Vipers took the points to increase their lead to 29-10 which was enough for them to win the bowl. This was however a brave effort by Harborough and as the players agreed at the end of the game they had kept faith with the players who had played and trained regularly all season and if they look at the way they were playing at the end of the season as opposed to when they started then the future looks bright
Updated 10:09 - 30 Apr 2018 by David Nance