AN awesome team effort helped secure victory for Market Harborough under-9s and other club sides in the inaugural Joules Cup played at Olney.
The under-9s’ success came via their teams Hares, Destroyers, Phoenix and Warriors.
Phoenix maintained their 100 per cent record to date with three wins.
They displayed impressive team play and continuity with fine performances from Rowan Moore and Charlie Dean, ably supported by Jo Cooper, Matthew Reeves, Callum Leat, George Summers, James Martin, Raff Ellis-Mathias and Alex Laurenti.
Destroyers fought hard in all of their games, drawing one one and narrowly losing two. Zach Richards, Lewis Mackie, Josh Manz and Ryan O’Connor kept the momentum going with back-up from Jake Thompson, Ciaran Barrow, Matthew Bolderston and Hannah Smith.
Warriors’ die-hard spirit saw them to a draw and two narrow defeats. The team were unlucky not to register a victory, Ben Marlow, Henry Phillips, Dan Pope and Sam Hayes-Coote leading the fight, and Edward Westaway, James Garner, Patrick Horne, Dylan Wagner, Harry Carter and Jonah Stacey Smith all doing their bit.
Hares’ first game against a strong Olney side saw a battling draw after they let their concentration slip in the second period.
Hares’ second game saw tries being scored directly from restarts as both sides allowed the opposition too much space to play.
Second-half changes brought about a more direct style of play and Hares managed to gain the upper hand, punching holes in the opposition defence and getting the ball wide for Oliver Rodgers to get in on the scoring.
Hares turned on the pressure in their last match and ran in a number of brilliant tries, with strong handling performances from Fergus Hynard, Ben Mackel and Chris Branch. Curtis Hambleton set up a score for master poacher Oliver Rodgers and there was great work ethic from Max Pollard and Ethan Henwood on the wings.
More good work came from debutant Joseph Gorry, Finn Carnduff and Ethan Shewring.
HARBOROUGH under-10s, also victorious at Olney, started with Menaces up against Olney’s Rebels and Mischiefs against their Jedis.
Menaces were under the cosh from the start, but some resolute defending, notably from Casper Bird, Max Vesty and Jake Morris, kept the opposition out.
Bird then picked up on a loose ball and passed to George Hooper, who found a gap down the wing to score. Olney came back and with two quick tries led 2-1 at half-time.
Good work from Toby Fletcher and Morris at the breakdown freed up Tom Stockley, who made good progress but was caught just short of the line. Alertness from Henry Bellamy to pick up and dive over drew Menaces level.
Soon after, Menaces looked likely to take the lead with Bellamy clean through, but play was halted for an injury. It looked costly, as the hosts retook the lead, but in the final play Hooper scored his second for a 3-3 draw.
Menaces were on top in their second game, George Hallam touching down but being ruled to have put a foot out, but Bird soon secured the lead from a maul.
Careless play from Menaces saw them concede two tries, but a typically strong Hallam run saw him level the game for a 2-2 draw.
Mischiefs fought out a very tight game and were victors by one try to nil. In their second fixture, they were soon behind 2-0 but woke up in the second half, scoring twice to level the game and secure the draw.
Harborough’s Rogues opened with a 1-1 draw against Olney.
The home scored first despite a barrage of tackles from the visiting defence. Moments later Henry Joule continued to impress with his first try of the season away from home.
No further scores were added in the second half but the Rogues scrum of Daniel Priestley, Will Green and Zack Green battled hard to keep the Olney forwards at bay.
Rogues faced a strong second Olney side for their next match and were pipped 4-3.
Olney would have closed the first half with a three-try lead if Zack Green hadn’t driven forward from the halfway line and broken through to score the visitors’ first of the game.
With seconds to go in the first half, Ewan Jenner drove forward and out-sprinted the Olney defence, only to be held up a yard from the try line.
Rogues started brightly in the second period with Tom Conneely and Ewan Jones combing well on the right wing to give Jones his first try of the season.
Olney retaliated again and scored to add their fourth. This attack lit a fire in the belly of the Rogues and they surged forward again and again until Joule finally planted the ball after a personal battle with the Olney pack.
Harborough’s Rascals squad came away with a brace of victories, due in no small way to Tyler Smith, who scored most of their tries.
A 2-1 victory in the first match was followed by a 5-1 success, with Smith responsible for four of them.
The combined effect of all of the squad results was that the Harborough under-10s won their age group point.
This proved to be the deciding result in the overall day and saw Harborough lift the trophy.
ALL four Harborough under-7s squads travelled to Olney to play in the Joules Cup.
This was the first competitive match for the under-7 Menaces and Rogues, each squad playing three games against the hosts.
Harborough under-7s made a significant contribution towards Harborough winning the inaugural Joules Trophy.
Playing in four squads, the under-7 teams put in some superb performances against tough and spirited opposition.
Stand-out players for the week included Thomas Jeffs, Lucas Hambleton, Oliver Barbosa and Thomas Kimbell.
The Menaces line-up of Joshua Tomlinson, Joshua Brambini-meadows, Oliver Barbosa, Ned Bellamy, Toby Christison, Max Fletcher, Carys Hamilton, Liam Crabb and Edward Bradnam had a fantastic start to their playing season with a 12-9 victory over Olney, resulting in tries for Bellamy, Fletcher, Christisson and Tomlinson, with some excellent support from Barbosa, who worked hard in support to set up the tries.
In the second game Menaces won 11-6 with the team taking full advantage of some good turn-over ball, Barbosa and Hamilton adding their names to the scoresheet too.
The last game was a tightly fought game with the Menaces losing 13-9, again with some excellent tries, including one from Bradnam and some good support by Crabb.