Harpenden accelerate to comprehensive derby victory
London Division Three North West Vauxhall Motors 3 Harpenden 17 HARPENDEN secured local bragging rights with a win away at Vauxhall Motors in London Division Three North West on Saturday. On a typical winter s afternoon, Harpenden, who usually play a fai
London Division Three North West
Vauxhall Motors 3 Harpenden 17
HARPENDEN secured local bragging rights with a win away at Vauxhall Motors in London Division Three North West on Saturday.
On a typical winter's afternoon, Harpenden, who usually play a fairly expansive, quick-flowing game were hindered by the pitch's dwarfed proportions, lacking in width, and sticky conditions under foot.
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It was not long before Johnny Barton took the direct route with a sniping run that dissected the Vauxhall backline, with Harpenden captain Joseph Tennant in close support. A brilliantly-executed two-on-one pass ensured an opening seven points with a try under the sticks, the conversion kick taken by the fly half Johnny Barton.
Vauxhall responded but Simon Smith and Andrew Read denied any attempt to outflank the Harpenden defence with sheer physical dominance.
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Both sides became increasingly frustrated with disruptions to the game and the vociferous home support were quietened by Simon Payne displaying a fantastic side step in riposte to the Vauxhall supporters.
The first half came to an end after the determined Harpenden pack, under siege on their own try line, denied Vauxhall's incessant efforts to break the try-line.
After the break, Harpenden made their first substitutions with a back line shuffle bringing Ben Allerton into outside centre and Richard Kearns to full back. Daniel Tennant took the hooker position and Pat Collins replaced the hard-working Andy Kiff to give the Harpenden front row a renewed spring in its step.
Vauxhall took advantage of a good kicking position just outside the 22 yard line with a successful penalty conversion from their fly half, reducing their deficit to 7-3.
Harpenden responded swiftly with some fast, skilful play as Jonathan Arrowsmith and Richard Kearns made some good ground, leading to Johnny Barton's try in the corner. The mercurial fly half threaded an excellent chip kick to wrong foot the static Vauxhall defence but narrowly failed with his conversion attempt.
Rob Dumpleton and Tom Hoare frustrated the Vauxhall line out all game, denying their backline any quality possession and limiting the home side to speculative kicking.
As the afternoon sun's heat diminished, the intensity of heated exchanges between the two sides grew. Harpenden, and in particular blind side Andy Brown, showed impenetrable and aggressive defence in the face of some physical attacks. After a turnover in the Vauxhall 22, a rolling maul ensued and Brown charged over for a try from the 15 metre line. Although the conversion was missed Harpenden were left celebrating a fine 17-3 success.
Harpenden: Kiff, Francey, Hoare J, Dumpleton, Hoare T, Brown, Arrowsmith, Adams, Barton A, Barton J, Tennant, J, Kearns, Smith, Reed, Payne. Subs; Tennant D, Collins, Allerton.