Derby delight for Harps

Men In Black make it back to back wins after seeing off Hemel

London 2 NW

Harpenden 17

Hemel Hempstead 0

HARPENDEN continued their good start to the season with a convincing 17-0 win over local rivals Hemel Hempstead on Saturday.

The Men in Black began the game in positive fashion, creating chances and smashing through holes in the Hemel defense. One such break allowed second row Dumbleton to enjoy a 50-meter gallop only to throw a blind pass to the non-existent support.

With captain Joe Tennant leading the backline from the front it was only a matter of time before Harpenden breached Hemel’s defense, and it was some slick handling that created the space for Muskett, to do what he does with such �lan and beat his opposite man to touch down out wide.

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Hemel enjoyed a large slice of the possession and it wasn’t long before the away side were presented with their first opportunity, a skewed penalty kick was Hemel’s best chance.

Tom Hoare found his way to the sin bin leaving Harpenden to endure five tough minutes prior to half time with only 14 bodies.

The Men in Black began the second half with gusto. Cornthwaite, was beginning to assert himself at the turnover, and with Read turning the screw on the Hemel kicker, Harpenden profited.

Their next score came directly from a lineout deep in Hemel territory. Dumbleton’s monopoly of the set piece gave quick ball to Payne, who’s inside pass to Read created inroads in the Hemel defence. Some quick ruck ball enabled Barton to feed Blake, whose footwork attracted the attentions of the opposition tacklers, before Jonny Barton slipped past several tacklers, dotting down under the posts.

The hosts then enjoyed a purple patch, and began to work the phases with little fuss or panache. Again a combination of quick ball at the breakdown and some deft handling from centre Kearns and winger Ashley Smith, found Hoare, who slid in under the posts.

The penalty count began to surge, seeing scrum half Barton enter the sin bin for a team offence. However, Hemel’s route-one attacking game was no match for Harpenden’s well drilled defence, and try as they might the away side got little change out of their counterparts.

A neat show and go from Payne, gave Kearns a chink of light, the centre bursting through and linking up well with Jali and Muskett, only to be thwarted at the last.

As the game neared the end, tempers flared and both sides were reduced to 14 men, but this failed to knock Harpenden from their stride, as the Men in Black again worked several promising openings, however this time they failed to trouble the scorers and garner the bonus point on offer.

Harpenden: Blake, D Tennant (Jali 60), Lewin, Dumbleton, Hoare, Cornthwaite, Ireland (Green 65), Read, A Barton, J Tennant � (Cooper 15), Muskett, Kearns, J Barton, Smith, Payne.