Parker produces the goods to snatch victory right at the last
It needed a late piece of magic from Ed Parker to snatch victory for Market Harborough when they hosted Olney in Midlands Two East (South).
There were 78 minutes on the clock when a slick bit of work from No.8 Michael Woodford sent Parker away.
He blazed a trail towards the left-hand corner before a swerve here and a sway there saw him race between the posts to touchdown.
That made 15-15 and Josh Purnell converted to give Harborough the lead for the first time in the match.
The remaining two minutes saw them keep the ball tight and run the clock down to win it 17-15.
Coach Richard Bowden said: “It could be argued we played the ‘Get out of jail’ card here.
“The first-half rustiness was worrying after the Christmas break but I was more pleased with a dominant second-half display.
“Credit must be given to Olney whose gritty defence nearly earned them the victory.”
The visitors from Olney will be disappointed they didn’t hold on for victory.
Rain just before kick-off made the ball and pitch slippery but Olney came out firing.
They took the game to Harborough up front but it was a delightful cross-field kick that saw their right wing touch down in the corner.
Harborough were short of a few regular backs butdid have Purnell back at scrum-half.
They levelled the game when Ethan Godefroy, Brian Atwiine and Tim Waterfield enabled Purnell to send Parker scurrying over.
But two more first-half tries for Olney put them 15-5 up at the break.
As hard as the home side tried to break through in midfield, the resolute defence thwarted attack after attack by closing down space very quickly.
Harborough came close to scoring on a couple of occasions only to penalised or come up short with the line at their mercy.
Harborough’s shook off their first-half rustiness and the introduction of Woodford gave a more robust counter to Olney’s forward play.
Gradually Harborough began to dominate and spent 10 minutes battering the Olney try line.
Just as it looked like the referee might give a penalty try for numerous indiscretions, Woodford scored a push over try.
Harborough huffed and puffed but the visitors remained on the front foot defensively and the gome side were seemingly unable to break them down.
It looked as though Olney might even add to their score until the game turned in dramatic fashion with Parker’s last-gasp magic.
Harborough play Pinley away this week and will have to bring their A-game with them to keep second place in this tightly-contested division.