RUGBY UNION: HARBURY fell to their first double defeat to Alcester in nearly 20 years following a scrappy 33-17 affair in the Midlands 4 West (South) on Saturday.
Alcester took an early lead following an opening ten minutes of territorial domination, but Harbury put this setback behind them and played some excellent rugby as they moved the ball quickly and won good possession.
However, the willingness to try elaborate moves cost them dear as within ten metres of the home line a pass was dropped and a home back raced the length of the pitch to score beneath the posts for a simple conversion for a 14-0 lead.
Harbury put this misfortune to one side and played much better rugby as they moved quickly to the home line. A series of driving mauls took Harbury to the home line and the excellent Dan Taylor drove over for a well deserved try which was converted by Dave Rooney to reduce the deficit to seven points at the break.
The hosts were a different side in the opening ten minutes of the second half with their backline moves and misspasses working effectively as play moved into the Harbury 22.
Although defending well at the outset, Alcester’s sharp passing and good support play led to a try wide out and although the conversion was missed, a 12 point lead had been gained.
Once more Harbury showed their steel and some good work between the forwards and backs saw Steve Alford make a forceful break and cross for a try to cut the deficit to seven points again.
Harbury had the initiative and another fine move took them within ten metres of the Alcester line. A well won scrum and with the pack in ascendancy suggested that keeping the game tight was the option but choosing to move the ball wide and less than five metres from the line was to be Harbury’s undoing.
A floated pass in the backline was picked up and the Alcester recipient had a clear run to the visitors’ line albeit it was nearly 90 metres away.
This was the game changing moment as Harbury reflected on what should have been a certain score and a 19-19 scoreline, instead they found themselves trailing by two converted tries.
This was further exacerbated when minutes later Alcester’s scrum half sold a dummy from a five-metre scrum and crossed for a smart try. The conversion added stretched their lead to three converted tries.
Harbury refused to buckle and the introduction of Ricky Alford in his first game for over 12 months epitomised when taking the ball 22 metres out, he side-stepped an opponent and then ran through to touch down for a stunning consolation score.