DEFENDING a proud county cup record, Market Harborough under-12s were found wanting this time around against quality opposition when the finals came to Coaville at the weekend.
Their first game in the finals was against a committed Loughborough side, whose desire on the day was greater, particularly with them having been beaten by Harborough last year.
Loughborough scored first, putting Harborough on the back foot, but Henry Povoas equalised after a powerful drive through a ruck by Sam Pindling.
Harborough were behind again before half-time with some aggressive tackling and rucking driving them back.
Will Hallam brought the score back to 10-10 in the second half with a stretch to the try line, but the competition rules meant that Loughborough went through as they had scored the first try.
The loss to Loughborough put Harborough in the Bowl semi-final against Market Bosworth.
Harborough were struggling to get into their game after tasting defeat, but kept the game scoreless in the first half.
Bosworth raced ahead in the second half with three unanswered tries and Harborough’s heads dropped.
A superb lineout move saw Povoas power through for a consolation score, but Bosworth scored again through their flying full-back to complete a 20-5 win – and send the Harborough boys home empty-handed this year.
HARBOROUGH under-11s were also involved in the county cup finals at Coalville.
They kicked off with a quarter-final match against Leicester Forest.
Harborough started strongly, getting their wingers in the thick of the action, and the tactic paid dividends straight away, Sam Eveleigh and Harvey Clarke putting in Oscar Dean for an early score.
However Harborough then got sucked into a forward mauling battle, which suited the larger opposition, who managed to get over the try line for an equaliser before the interval.
The Harborough forwards, led by Ben Richards and Charlie Hilton, relished the challenge of getting quick ruck ball for scrum half Fynn Batkin to get the back line attacking.
Dean again ended a fine scoring move which also included good hands from Harry O’Connor and Oscar Marriott-Clarke.
Alex Delaney and Robert Tyas made good ground via their rucking and Harvey Clarke crashed through to complete a deserved 3-1 victory and take Harborough into the semis.
However a single try defeat in the semi-final against Oakham meant their county cup campaign was over.
The tie was a tight affair between two well-matched sides.
It looked as though the Harborough team were taking the initiative in a bruising encounter. The forwards were dominating the exchanges up front, presenting quick ball for the backs. Tim Gorman-Powell and Harry Glynn linked well, only to find a well-organised wall of defence.
Despite being on top it was a Harborough defensive error that turned the game as Oakham, finding space on the blind side, scored a try against the run of play.
Harborough now found themselves chasing the game but, to their credit, they stuck to their task and kept pushing on, with Ben Evans and Callum Boulter at the forefront.
For a time they were camped on the opposition try line and the pressure seemed to have resulted in the equalising try when Batkin touched down on the line, only for the referee to deem it short. As play continued, Ben Richards crashed over the try line, only for the official to rule it was ‘held up’.
THE ‘B’ team of Harborough under-11s progressed to the Bowl Final in the county festival at Coalville.
Facing them first, in the quarter-finals of the main competition, were Syston.
Harborough dominated early on with Harley Kennedy, Kipp Allingham, Alfie Gower, Will Munn and Thomas Manz controlling the forward play, with strong support from Taran Mann and Jack Houlihan.
A seemingly good try by Houlihan was disallowed as the referee was unsighted, and Syston capitalised on their good fortune by crashing over for two unanswered tries in the second half.
A valiant response from Rhys Cook, Matthew James and Joe Brooks was not enough to retrieve the situation.
This took the Harborough team into the Bowl competition, where they met Vipers in the semi-finals.
Again Harborough got off to a strong start, which was rewarded when Alfie Gower scored in the corner. Harley Kennedy went on a typically aggressive run to make it 2-0 at the break and Will Munn broke in the second half to round off a 3-0 victory.
The Bowl Final produced another strong start from Harborough, who pinned opponents Leicester Forest back in their own half.
But Forest came more into the game as the first period wore on and it took an excellent tackle from Ted Brown to stop them taking the lead.
This was a tight contest with both forward packs running the show.
Whenever Harborough were under pressure they dug in and fine kicking by James sent the opposition back down the pitch.
Turning round 0-0 at half-time, Harborough knew that they had to make a special effort to win the Bowl and they gave it everything they had with Munn, Gower, Manz, Kennedy and Mann leading the push.
However with the final play of the game, Forest dramatically clinched the contest when their forward power took them over to score the decider.
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Weather for Market Harborough
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North east