Late first half slump costs Olney as they still seek first win

Hamish Bull. Pic: Hamish Bull
Hamish Bull. Pic: Hamish Bull

Olney are still looking for their first win of the new league season after a 29-0 defeat at the hands of Market Harborough.

The home side kicked off and looked to have the advantage in the forward encounters, taking the ball to the visitor's goal line. They failed to convert possession into points and visiting Harborough looked dangerous when they had hands on the ball.

Both sides were guilty of conceding penalties, and both took the touchline option to gain territory when awarded in their favour. The home side were unable to claim clean ball on their throw in, often losing it to the visitor's advantage.

Olney were denied the services of one of their most enterprising three-quarters, when Hamish Bull had to leave the field having suffered a head injury. Kieran Manson came off the bench to replace him.

The first points were put on the scoreboard by Harborough from a try by Ed Parker, converted by Joe Whitworth after 35 minutes, but from there, it spiralled for Olney as they capitulated before half time.

The visitors counter attacked from the kick off and were soon rewarded with a second try from Parker, converted by Whitworth, extending their lead to 14-0.

The referee's whistle was busy, both sides guilty of infringements, making for constant interruptions. Harborough managed to squeeze in another try from Parker, just on half time to go in 19-0 up at the break.

The second half continued along much the same lines as the first. After seven minutes play Parker increased his tally to four tries to extend the visitors' lead to 24-0.

Olney rang the changes, Jake Ashton and Mark Austin coming off, Graham Smith and Cameron Kok going on. Despite a lot of effort and one or two enterprising individual attacks from the backline, Olney failed to breech the visitor's defence. Gareth Carhill and George Stanton attempted to make some impression from the pack and when given the opportunity to drive the maul. There was never quite enough, back up or initiative.

Marcus Goss was doing his bit, but needed attention from the physio, and when Jordan Letts had to leave the field Olney's scoring possibilities seemed to have evaporated.

Harborough had no such reservations and further increased their score when, following the introduction of their subs. Steff Ziemelise added a further, unconverted try to take the score to 29-0.