Market Harborough battled their way to a 33-12 win against Coventry outfit Pinley in the Intermediate Cup.
However, it was the visitors who struck early with an 80-metre counter attack which gave them the lead and Harborough knew they had a game on their hands.
With the first 20 minutes being relatively even, it took a quick tap-penalty from Ethan Godefroy to draw the Pinley defence to the touchline and the subsequent quick hands saw Ed Parker over for a converted try.
Harborough’s success was based on hard-running rugby and a collective defensive effort from both backs and forwards.
The abrasive nature of the visitors’ game meant Harborough had to weather several storms and put in some big defensive hits.
Step forward Timmy Waterfield, Luke Riordan and Godefroy who rocked back countless attacks while Callum Blair, Parker and Harry Durham were pivotal in holding the line for the backs.
On the stoke of half-time Parker zipped over for his second of the match and Durham knocked over the conversion for a 14-5 lead at the interval.
Harborough raised their intensity after the interval as the visitors stuck to their no-nonsense game plan.
Much of the rugby was not too pleasing on the eye, but the youthful Harborough team stood firm and did not back down from the challenge.
After a short period of pressure Riordan stretched out his hand scored a try under the posts which Durham again converted.
Leading 21-5, the home team started to put some expansive phases of play together.
Parker sliced open the Pinley defence with a terrific angled run and offloaded the ball a few metres short of the line to Godefroy who went over. Durham again added the extras.
All afternoon the surging runs of Michael Woodford struck deep into the Pinley rear.
And his efforts were rewarded with on 65 minutes when he drive from the back of the pack and took three players over the line with him.
The last five minutes saw Pinley put pressure on the Harborough defence and their constant attacking forays were rewarded with a penalty try.
Coach Richard Bowden said: “This was a hard fixture in which we could have retreated into their shells but it was a top team effort.
“I was really happy with the way the lads stood up.
“We had to tough this game out up front and our running rugby and defensive tackling won the day for us.”
The second team put in an excellent performance but narrowly missed out on a win at Aylestone St James firsts.
Danny Yeow’s men went down 12-7.
Market Harborough Colts produced a superb second-half performance to beat St Neots.
The visitors’ larger pack dominated territory early on but the Harborough backs looked dangerous with ball in hand.
Ed Duggan got the first score but it was 5-5 at half-time.
With coaches admonishments still ringing in their ears Harborough took the game to St Neots and they were rewarded with a try for Joe Price after a series of good phases.
Mason Tye then touched down and this was soon followed by a score for fullback Liam Douglas.
A superb individual effort by Geordan Stout was next followed by an excellent team score rounded off by Price.
St Neots gained a consolation but Harborough finished strongly and replacement winger Morgan Jones got the final score to make it 37-12.
Market Harborough under-14s were drawn away against Syston in the opening round one of this year’s County Cup.
They had the game won before half-time and had racked up a 61-5 scoreline before the referee stopped the match.
Tries came from Jake
Sterland (4), Henry Joule, Ewan Jones and Shea Harley while birthday boy Tyler Smith grabbed a couple and Jack Vernon got eight conversions.