Sun 19
Leighton Buzzard
Colts XV
Hard fought and well deserved win for the Colts see them into last 16 of National Plate

Hard fought and well deserved win for the Colts see them into last 16 of National Plate

By Stuart Beard
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Buzzards brought down

Harborough faced opposition of unknown quality in Leighton Buzzard played on a clear Sunday afternoon with little wind but uphill on a sloping pitch. From the off Harborough were forced to defend deep and were unable to clear their lines but were fortunate that a very kickable penalty was missed. The visitors were finding it difficult to get a foothold in the game and the Buzzard's backs constantly threatened. Sloppy tackling in midfield allowed the Buzzard fly half to waltz in for the first score but again profligate kicking kept the score to 5-0. Worse was to come when captain Joe Price was sin binned for a high tackle. However, being a man short galvanised Harborough and a smart kick by scrum half Harry Wells nearly put winger Ed Duggan in but the ball was retrieved and taken to the opposite flank where full back Cam Tucker White and number 8 Fraser Smith got close, but it was Adam Stamp who crashed over to level the scores 5-5. Harborough finished the half strongly, the scrum on top and Smith and 2nd row Matt Sankey grafting in defence and attack. From another foray upfield (and uphill!) Harborough won a penalty on the 22 and elected to take a scrum as the lineout had been a lottery thus far. A dummy run by outside centre Max Dalby allowed fly half Charlie Beard and inside centre Tom Sanderson to link with Tucker-White who drew the final cover to release winger Mason Tye to run in under the posts. Wells converted. 5-12 was a really useful halftime score considering the pressure, the sin bin and playing uphill.

Harborough came out all guns blazing in the 2nd half, and from set piece ball the backs replicated the move successful in the first half to outflank the defence with a 2nd try for Tye. Wells added a conversion. 5-19. The next try came quickly, the ball again moving across from one flank to the other, flanker Will Hallam made a great pick up off his toes and moved the ball on to Tucker-White who wriggled through 3 challenges before touching down. 5-24. The cat was certainly among the Buzzards and after repeling a charge by the forwards and gaining a penalty under their own posts, the hosts decided to try and run the ball back, excellent defensive pressure not only stopped the attack at source, but a hit from Dalby popped the ball loose and allowed him the easiest of tries. 5-29. With 15 minutes to go Harborough emptied the bench and perhaps lost a little momentum, allowing the host to come back and score in the corner which was topped off by an excellent conversion 12-29. The last 10 was an uncomfortable watch, the game got scrappy in every sense of the word and Harborough were unable to execute good exits from defence, however, grit saw them through with no mores scores. FT 12-29. This sees Harborough into the last 16 nationally and into a combined Midlands and North group which includes teams from Carlisle, Wakefield, Ponteland (Newcastle) and Hull. The draw is on 21st Feb and next round 4/5th March

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Match details

Match date

Sun 19, Feb 2017