Play-off spot is secured with dominant win over Huntingdon

Market Harborough secured at least second place in Midlands Two East (South) following a solid 59-12 win away at bottom-of-the-table Huntingdon & District.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 9:14 am
Updated Thursday, 4th April 2019, 9:17 am
Chris Bale (left) scored a hat-trick

An injury to George Lee and the unavailability of James Melody allowed opportunities for Jack Digby and Michael Woodford to return to the matchday squad.

It was not long before early pressure from the visitors proved too much for Huntingdon.

Excellent play from Harborough saw them work their way through several phases before fly-half Jake Fordham used some lovely footwork to dart through a half gap and score under the posts.

Loz Joel added the extras.

Huntingdon did have a significant period of possession but unforced errors prevented them from getting any rhythm and hinted at why they find themselves at the wrong end of the table.

The set-piece was going well for Harborough but it came against the run of play when Chris Bale scored their second try.

The third came when Fordham ran back a kick and, after going through several pairs of hands, Harry Durham who finished a flowing counter-attack.

Harborough remained the stronger side but were unable to add any further tries before half-time.

That changed soon after the restart as Joel chipped over the defence and collected the ball on the full and score.

Josh Haynes then scored a similar try after a line break from Timmy Waterfield.

Harborough now looked far more stable and with Woodford and Digby making their return the pack had to be the biggest set for a few years.

It definitely showed in the scrums as Harborough exerted their dominance over their hosts.

Chris Bale scored his second try following a searing break from skipper Josh Purnell and quickly completed his hat-trick.

Then it was Purnell’s turn to get on the scoresheet to take the score to 52-12.

The final try came from Milkha Basra. Huntingdon did a great job to get the ball away from their scrum despite it being under huge pressure.

But a poor clearance kick was run back well with Basra starting and finishing the move for his 24th in just 19 games this season.

It was a fantastic second-half display and pleasing for Harborough to see Woodford back in a first-team shirt.

The win, coupled with St Ives losing to Belgrave, means it is now a two-horse race for the title.

They still sit five points behind leaders Olney with two tough games to come in the regular season before a potential play-off on the April 27.

In Midlands One East, Lutterworth suffered a rare home defeat as they were beaten by fifth-placed Peterborough 29-12.