Rugby Union: Harris harries poor Orrell

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The Independent Online
Orrell. . . 0

Leicester. .6

TWO first-half penalties by Jez Harris decided this formless match at Edge Hall Road yesterday. The margin would have been far more comfortable if he had not missed three more in the last 15 minutes as well as another midway through the first half. Orrell had their chances, too, but Gerry Ainscough failed with three and Simon Langford missed his one shot. All of them were kickable.

What the Sky viewers thought of this tryless affair is not likely to be ecstatic. Leicester tried to introduce some attacking skill without much success, partly due to Orrell's dogged defence and partly because of their own mistakes. Considering the number of forward passes that went unnoticed, the crowd at least deserved a try in perfect conditions on an immaculate pitch.

Leicester were disappointing, but with the Underwood brothers, Rory and Tony, unavailable they were never going to play to their wings. Aadel Kardooni and Harris were efficient halves and Stuart Potter, a strong, direct centre, put some force into an otherwise anonymous three-quarter line. It was the forwards who were the dominant force. Dean Richards, not the most nimble of movers, nevertheless showed his uncanny ability to read the game by popping up whenever he was needed, while Neil Back was a constant threat.

Orrell, no longer the forward force they were, rarely looked like breaking through and scrum-half Dewi Morris was unable to get his backs operating. Oddly enough, Orrell had the better of the first quarter. Tony Redmond, a busy hooker, supported a keen break by Steven Bibby and was held inches from the corner in the fourth minute.

Orrell were helped in this spell by the good line-out work of Chris Brierley and Bibby. The possession they gained helped unsettle Leicester. Gradually, however, the visitors realised they could contain Orrell and Martin Johnson steadily influenced their line- out work. They deserve their victory, but they could even have lost if Orrell had managed to unleash their neglected right-wing Jim Naylor in the dying minutes.

Orrell: S Langford; J Naylor, I Wynne, P Johnson, A Healey; G Ainscough, D Morris (capt); J Russell, A Redmond, J Cundick, C Cooper, C Brierley, P Manley, D Cleary, S Bibby.

Leicester: W Kilford; S Hackney, D Edwards, S Potter, A McAdam; J Harris, A Kardooni; G Rowntree, R Cockerill, D Garforth, M Johnson, M Poole, J Wells, D Richards (capt), N Back.

Referee: J R Wallis (Somerset).