RUGBY UNION: AN APPALLING pitch and a somewhat pedantic official were two large contributing factors towards as both Redditch and depleted Harbury side played out a frustrating 14-14 draw in the Midlands 4 West (South) division.
Harbury were short of no fewer than six first team players for Saturday’s trip to Redditch but they started the match in a purposeful fashion against a strong head wind.
But difficult conditions underfoot following heavy rain overnight made playing conditions very difficult.
Harbury exerted pressure and took an early lead through a Dave Rooney penalty but Redditch did managed to apply pressure on Harbury’s lineout, which generally an effective functioning unit this season, could not achieve its normal rhythm.
For both sides opportunities arose when they visited the opposition 22 and this is where the scoring opportunities arose.
Redditch gained the lead with a contentiously awarded penalty try with Harbury visibly upset by the referee’s decisions but Harbury came back well and Rooney drew his side to just a single point behind.
Both sides took umbrage over what they perceived as injustices in decision making and Harbury suffered when a forward was yellow carded.
The resulting penalty took play to five metres from their goal line and although the initial line out was thwarted by some good defensive work, Redditch were awarded a subsequent penalty and opted for a set scrum.
One again the initial thrust was stopped, Redditch though used a pick up and go attack on the Harbury line and exposed the lack of cover and added a converted try just before the break for a 14-6 lead.
The wind was behind their backs in the second half and Harbury eventually put together some pleasing phases of play.
Lock forward Seymour Smith took an excellent line and used his pace to drive through weak defence and touch down for a well deserved try, but unfortunately Rooney’s conversion drifted wide.
The heavy conditions led to handling errors on both sides and from a well judged kick wing Paul Evans defied the conditions and caught the home full back in possession just under his posts.
Although the player failed to release the ball he was not penalised and bizarrely Redditch were awarded a penalty.
Harbury were awarded a string of penalties and the final play of the game gave them a simple opportunity to draw the match with Rooney adding the kick to give a draw.
Whilst Harbury were disappointed, as it was a match they could have won, pragmatism was the obvious way and two points were worth more than one.