A 250 mile round trip for Market Harborough Colts did not stop them dismantling a physical Hull Ionians side to reach the quarter finals of the National Colts Plate. Putting a difficult week where 5 first choice players had injuries or other commitments, the squad showed it’s depth on a windy and rainy day. Playing into the wind Harborough received the ball and looked sharp from the off, driving upfield before a handling error brought the first scrum. Despite being the decidedly smaller front row, props Joe Cleaver and Scott Dean put the visitors scrum to the sword, Dean in particular saw off 3 different props throughout the game. Coupled with scrum half Matty Stamp harassing his opposite number, scrumtime was funtime! However, it was Hull who scored first, after what looked like a good turnover was penalised for ‘not releasing’ 3-0. Despite this, Harborough were looking to dominate the contact area, number 8 Fraser Smith making yards at every opportunity with his abrasive runs and ferocious fends. Man of the match Geordan Stout, playing at outside centre tackled everything with his, and the other backs line speed rushed and hustled the opposing backs. Getting deep into the hosts 22, fly half Charlie Beard’s no-look inside ball gave Captain Joe Price the opening to crash over, Will Hallam added the extras 3-7. Much of the half was nip and tuck, playing into the wind they naturally ceded territory and at time struggled to clear, but the defence was firm and the line unbroached at half time 3-7.
It is always a massive fillip to play with the wind at your backs and to have a lead, and Harborough were to dominate the next 20 minutes, camping inside the 22m for phases at a time. The first score of the 2nd half came after the forwards had crashed up inches short, spotting tiny gap, blindside flanker Hallam reached over he ruck and dotted down. 3-12. Harborough continued to exert more pressure but were left frustrated by their inability to capitalise on the field position and missing scoring opportunities through poor handling and decision making. With 20 minutes to go, Harborough got the 3rd try, deservedly going to Smith who’s desire to run at the opposition was insatiable. 3-17. A late yellow card brought Hull back into the game but the pressure of the visiting defence gave little away and Ross Primrose booted the ball out for a victory that made the long drive home bearable.