Harborough come through a stern test by Long Buckby to secure a bonus point victory
Harborough returned to action against Long Buckby at Northampton Road with the visitors form on the up.
Harborough returned to action against Long Buckby at Northampton Road with the visitors form on the up. The game was a physical test from the start with Long Buckby winning the territorial battle and taking a 3-0 lead through a penalty. They remained on the attack but the Harborough backs conjured up some magic with Harvey Slade making ground before releasing Laurence Joel with a long pass, he made 30 metres before chipping ahead and reaching the ball first to touch down for the try that with the conversion from Josh Purnell gave Harborough a 7-3 lead. Unfortunately Joel then had to leave the field with an injury but Harborough upped their game with Fin Clarke storming up the wing and when he was held a long pass from Purnell found Slade who put Ed Sumpter clear and he drew the defence before passing to Henry Davis who ran in to score and although the conversion was missed the 12-3 lead looked good. That was until some sloppy defence saw Buckby score a try of their own that with the conversion bought them within 2 points. Worse was to come as Sumpter was yellow carded for dissent but Harborough battled on and after good work by Lee Butler Harborough were awarded a penalty that Purnell duly slotted to give Harborough a 15-10 half-time lead. The second half saw early pressure from the visitors and eventually they crossed the line wide out to draw level which was a fair reflection of an even contest. But when Sumpter returned and was joined by Harborough’s old warhorse, Michael Woodford, Harborough began to take more control. The next move was started by Clarke and taken on first by Jack Digby, then Ethan Godefroy and quick ball found Woodford who off-loaded to Sumpter who ran in to score for a 20-15 lead. This became 25-15 shortly after as smart interplay between Sumpter and Davis resulted in Davis running in for his second try and a bonus point for Harborough. But Buckby were proving to be very tough opponents and came back to score a try of their own in the corner, 25-20. There then followed the try of the game and it came from loose play by Harborough that saw a pass to nowhere. But man of the match Fin Clarke was on hand to reach the ball first and he made 40 metres from inside his own half, breaking a number of tackles before finding Sumpter with an exquisite offload and he was able to run around the defence and touch down under the posts for the try with Purnell converting to secure a 32-10 victory for Harborough. After the game Head Coach, Richard Bowden, said that this tough encounter was just what the squad needed before their next game away at Luton who are currently just a point behind Harborough in third place.