Discipline issues cannot prevent Harborough seeing off rivals
Market Harborough came out on top in the third-versus-second showdown in Midlands Two East (South).
They hosted St Ives – an uncompromising side full of big players – who won the reverse fixture earlier in the season.
But on this occasion it was Harborough who triumphed 45-24 to leapfrog their opponents.
Harborough started strongly and it was not long before returning skipper Josh Purnell showed his class with a dominant break before releasing Harvey Slade who in turn put Harry Durham in for a score converted by Laurence Joel.
A turnover by Jake Fordham in his own 22 then saw the ball reach Slade who outstripped the defence before passing inside to Milkha Basra to touch down.
St Ives hit back with a deserved try of their own but, from the kick-off, a knock on gave Harborough a scrum in the middle of the park just outside the 22 and No.8 Chris Bale picked up, made ground and passed to Joel made it 17-5.
A yellow card for Finlay Smith left the home side a man down and St Ives took advantage to move within five points 17-12.
But Harborough remained in control and collected their bonus-point score after an excellent chase by Timmy Waterfield set the platform for Basra to touch down under the posts for a healthy 24-12 half-time lead.
The penalty count against Harborough was worrying, though, as Stuart Bale received a yellow card for kicking the ball out of the ruck.
But being a man short did not halt Harborough’s endeavour and they saw Basra and Joel combine to put Durham in.
The score became 38-12 shortly after when the ever-industrious Waterfield set up Chris Bale to storm over.
Some over-confidence and an unnecessary pass led to an interception try for St Ives and they added another to earn a bonus point.
But Harborough still looked comfortable – despite another yellow card this time for Purnell – and Joel was on hand to leap high in the air and catch an excellent box kick for his second and Harborough’s seventh try.
Head coach Joe Hill said: “There is some concern about the indiscipline but I’m satisfied that, as a team, we are now showing what they are capable of and can achieve our aim of finishing in the top two.”