Olney lose late but much improved performance
By Fraser Bull
Report by Jim Ford
MARKET HARBOROUGH vs. OLNEY Sat. 6th. January. 2018.
Olney were away to Mkt. Harboro' on Saturday, a team in the top three of their league. They were, no doubt, still reflecting on their last, pre Christmas game when they were 3 -0 up against another top three team, Luton, when the game was abandoned. The reason; the referee had to retire due to a leg injury!
Olney kicked off and when Harboro' counter attacked, were awarded a scrum when just outside their '22'. Olney won the ball and fed their backline. Marcus Goss chased up on a great cross filed chip and beat the defence to touch down. The try was unconverted, score: 0 - 5 after 2 mins.
The visitors continued to dominate play, the pack performed well in the set pieces and supported the backs in defence. The home side were most dangerous when the ball was in the hands of their backs and they managed to contrive a try in the corner by their try machine 'Parker. No conversion, this levelled the scores at 5 - 5 ( 13 mins.).
The referee was less than impressed with the activities of a Harboro' flanker and showed the yellow card. This reduced the home side to fourteen. Olney punished this indiscretion when, awarded a penalty inside the home '22', they took the scrum option. Olney won the ball and drove a maul for prop Graham Smith to round it off, touching down, no conversion, 5 - 10 ( 17 mins.).
Olney were having a 'purple patch' and just five minutes later Olney won the ball in Harboro' territory and George Stanton, at lock, charged over to touch down. Again not converted but extending the lead to 5 -15. Harboro's frustration lead to the conceding a number of penalties, but there was no further score before half time.
HALF TIME SCORE: MARKET HARBOROUGH 5, OLNEY 15.
The second half opened with Olney counter attacking from the kick off and taking play to the home 5m. line. The home defence resisted the attack and a period of play, midfield was dominated by a heavy shower of rain. Olney's pack was depleted when, following a clash of forwards, No.8 Gareth Carhill was requested to leave the field by virtue of a yellow card. This put pressure on the visitor's pack and coincided with the penalty count going heavily in the home side's favour.
Olney used their substitutes to rest some weary legs and the scoreboard was static until 20 minutes into the half when Michael Woodford found a way through the visitor's defence, to add an unconverted try reducing the deficit to 10 - 15.
Conditions did not encourage open play and, with the interruptions for penalties, the teams were obliged to flog it out in the forwards. Going into time added for stoppages it looked like the visitors would earn a close win. However it was not to be, Harboro's 'try machine' Parker claimed the ball inside the home '22' and ran almost the length of the pitch and avoiding defenders to touch down near the posts. Inevitably this produced the only conversion of the match, Josh Purnell slotted it to achieve the winning score, 17 - 15.
FULL TIME SCORE: MARKET HARBOROUGH 17, OLNEY 15
TEAM: Graham Smith Jim Osborn (capt.), Jeremiah Shields, George Stanton, Christian Caswell,
Isaac Shields, Ryan Hammett, Gareth Carhill,
Kieran Manson, Elliot Simpson,
Marcus Goss, David Smith, Hamish Bull, Jake Deighton, Lloyd Sweeney.
SUBS: Rob Matthews, Henry Clarke, Charlie Harris
TEAM SPONSOR: DESMOND J. SMAIL LTD.