Harbury clip Swifts’ wings to move into the last eight of Junior Vase

Steve Alford
Steve Alford

Harbury moved into the quarter-finals of the Midlands Junior Vase with a hard-earned 12-8 win at Bedford Swifts.

Although Harbury were missing several regulars through injury and unavailability, their character, togetherness and fitness proved to be a determining asset.

Certainly, they surprised their physically larger opponents with their commitment to defence and willingness to force the play.

Frustratingly, too often they lost good field position due to a malfunctioning lineout and having won a series of penalties they allowed Swifts to combine and use their large forwards to attempt to break through.

However, Harbury’s defence was excellent and they competed well at the set scrums and bossed the breakdown.

It was clear that with a strong wind behind them a good lead was essential at the break and relatively straightforward penalty attempts were turned down for lineouts.

Unfortunately, opportunities for a catch and drive were not taken.

In the 35th minute, centre Steve Alford took advantage of a loose pass and ran 65 metres for a try under the posts, converted by Mark Anderson.

A 7-0 lead at the break appeared inadequate and this was reduced to just four in the 44th minute when Swifts added a penalty.

Harbury, though, rose to the occasion and their robust defence and attacking play was exemplary.

This was capitalised upon courtesy of a fine finish by Will Godwin who used his pace and clever footwork to outstrip the cover and touch down to extend the lead to nine points.

Saints came back with a forwards try from a five-metre lineout to touch down wide out.

The conversion was missed and Harbury, though under pressure, dealt with it calmly, cleverly disrupting a Saints scrum 20 metres out to gain a penalty which heralded the final whistle.