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Harbury’s Twickenham dreams ended by visitors

HARBURY’S dream of a cup final trip to Twickenham was ended when visitors Wigan ran out 18-8 winners in the semi-final of the Papa John’s Community Cup.

Opportunities were few and far between in the opening 20 minutes when much of the play was either side of the halfway line.

The breakthrough finally came courtesy of a penalty from the home side’s Ricky Alford in front of the posts but a chance to double Harbury’s lead soon after went begging when his kick flew just wide of the uprights.

Harbury ahead of their cup tie. Photo: Tim Nunan
Harbury ahead of their cup tie. Photo: Tim Nunan

Wigan scored the first try of the game from an excellent set piece which resulted in their winger dotting down in the corner. The conversion was missed but the visitors did increase their lead shortly afterwards with a penalty.

Harbury battered Wigan’s defensive line for the remainder of the half, with Wigan reduced to 14 men for continued infringements.

Rory Pond had a try disallowed under the sticks on the cusp of half-time for a supposed double movement, but the ball was brought back for a penalty in front of the posts, but Alford was again off target as the Lancashire side went into the interval with an 8-3 lead.

Wigan added the first score of the second half in frustrating fashion from a home perspective. A grubber kick through ricocheted off a number of heels before bouncing up into their winger’s hands and he did well to offload back infield for his inside centre to score under the sticks.

At 15-3 this would have been an outstanding comeback, and Harbury did score next to keep their hopes alive. Following some impressive open field play with the ball going through both the backs and forwards, Jackson Hobson was able to straighten and power his way over in the corner. The conversion was missed to leave the score at 15-8.

The Villagers had several opportunities to further close the gap, but the Wigan defence was staunch and Harbury were probably guilty of playing into their hands too often, carrying at their big centres. It was also tough for the hosts’ forwards who struggled to win their own set piece, both at scrum time and at the line-out.

Having absorbed a lot of pressure, Wigan did eventually make their way back up the pitch and it needed the combined efforts of Toby Whelan and Ciaran O'Connor to stop another try in the corner.

A further penalty presented the visitors with a ten-point lead and the closest Harbury got to a second try was when Seymour Smith was held up over the line.

The Villagers are back in action this weekend when they take part in the Len Eadon Memorial 7s at Southam ahead of the club’s awards night.

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