RUGBY UNION - Harbury edge out Trentham in thriller to move one win from Twickenham - The Leamington Observer

RUGBY UNION - Harbury edge out Trentham in thriller to move one win from Twickenham

Leamington Editorial 30th Apr, 2024 Updated: 30th Apr, 2024   0

HARBURY RFC beat Trentham 36-34 in a thriller to reach the Papa Johns Cup semi-finals and move one win from playing at Twickenham.

Tries from Tom Arnold, Will Higgins, Harry Holland, Ricky Alford and Charlie Allerton as well as a late penalty try earned Harbury an impressive victory at New Inn Lane.

Harbury’s Staffordshire opponents were previously unbeaten at home and had lost just once all season.

And the visitors made the best possible start when Arnold raced onto Tom Boag’s offload and reached for the line with Alford converting only for Trentham to draw level with a converted try of their own.

Harbury reclaimed the lead soon after as Rory Pond spread the ball to Alford before Higgins ran in his side’s second try as Alford narrowly missed the conversion.

The Villagers lost Pond to injury in the process of scoring which forced Alford to play at 10 and he produced a moment of magic as he collected his own chip and chase before offloading to Holland who scored under the posts.




Trentham responded with a penalty and a breakaway try to close the gap to two points only for Alford to cross after he executed another chip and chase to score.

The home side reduced the deficit to two points at the interval despite the touch judge flagging for a foot in touch after Harbury lost Jackson Hobson to the sin bin for a high tackle.


Trentham made the most of their numerical advantage to score two quickfire tries at the start of the second period to take a 10-point lead.

However, Harbury came roaring back as Trentham had a player sent to the sin bin for a high tackle although the visitors were unable to make the man advantage count.

Another late and high tackle on Boag left the Harbury man with a busted nose before the visitors eventually made their pressure count.

A stunning move saw Arnold slip in Allerton in the corner after Joe Cummings burst onto Alford’s initial pass before finding Knott who in turn passed to Arnold who provided the assist for the try.

And Trentham lost another player to the sin bin for a block on Alford as he chased his own grubber kick as Harbury opted to take the scrum from in front of the posts with the former unable to continue after the collision.

A late shoulder charge on Tom Kittendorf saw Trentham reduced to 13-men for the remaining minutes with the home flanker shown a second yellow card and sent off.

Harbury kicked to the corner and won the resulting lineout, taking the ball within metres of the Trentham line, before the referee awarded a penalty try after the tackler failed to clear the ruck and ripped the ball loose.

That saw Trentham down to 12-men with minutes left to play as Harbury scuppered one final attack from the home side to keep their Twickenham dream alive.

Harbury host Wigan in the semi-finals on Saturday, May 4 with kick-off at 3pm at Waterloo Fields.

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