U15’s work hard at Harbury…
By Andy Giles
Harbury 27 – Earlsdon 0
For the second time in two weeks the Earlsdon u15’s took on Harbury in an away match that would prove to be a bruising battle. Having lost to Harbury in the previous encounter by a mere 5 points, the Earlsdon squad had high hopes of balancing the scale with an away win, but hopes were dashed as Harbury seized control early on when the Earlsdon kickoff, lofted long by the strong following wind, entered the ingoal area and the referee handed the home side a scrum back at the centre line. Despite Earlsdon driving hard the home side won the scrum and immediately pushed the Earlsdon squad back into their half where they hung on grimly until a number of penalties, awarded by the referee, would see Earlsdon pushed closer to their goal line until eventually the home side fired the ball out to the wing and eventually made it over the line at the 6 minute mark. After the restart, Earlsdon came back strong and for the next 10 minutes the ball moved between the home side and visitors 22m line until a handful of Earlsdon infringements lead to a Harbury scrum on the Earlsdon 5m line. Earlsdon won the scrum and in an effort to add to the momentum of the Earlsdon charge, Sam Huckfield pushed the ball over the line but was denied the try as the ball deemed not to have been grounded satisfactorily, in a controversial decision. Harbury took charge at the restart and pushed Earlsdon back into their half and exploited the space on the wing and used a 2 man overlap to ground the ball over the line, bringing the score to 10-0. The restart saw the ball go dead again and handed the home side a scrum at the halfway line, which quickly turned into Earlsdon’s advantage as the home side were penalised for not binding. The penalty saw a superb kick into touch at the Harbury 5 metre line but, after the lineout, saw Earlsdon knock-on, in a game littered with handling errors, and hand control back to Harbury. The remainder of the first half saw Earlsdon’s half chances spurned and with big hits more evident than breaks, saw both Donnal Murphy and Harrison Walker injured following the intensive physical play, which was poor reward for their hard work. The score remained 10-0 at the end of the first half.
If Earlsdon were to gain momentum they would have to start the second half quickly and never less than fully committed. Unfortunately they were unable to force a breakthrough and yet another scrum on the Earlsdon 5 metre line resulted in another 5 points on the board for the home team. The next twenty five minutes saw Earlsdon repel attack after attack with some excellent defensive work as Harbury maintained a foot-hold in the Earlsdon half and the visitors were unable to come up with an exit strategy and unable to find rhythm to restore momentum to their charge. The feisty Harbury scrum half was met with equal attitude from Sam Taylor in a battle that defined the game and despite displays of forward driving play from Charlie Knight and George Briers, Earlsdon were unable to make the most of any chances and were unable to use the running ability of the backs to exploit the holes punched in the Harbury defensive line. Eventually the home side seized control again and finished the game with a further 2 tries, one of which was converted for the extras, to give a final score of 27-0.
As the season draws to a close we can look back at a set of mixed results that seems poor reward for all the hard work and dedication throughout the season by everyone. But we finish the season with a solid squad that has made clear progress despite a steep learning curve; and with the help of the coaches, that progress will provide a solid foundation to build on for next year, when the efforts of everyone will surely bear fruit !