Harpenden back in the winning groove against London Nigerian

Ed Preston scored Harpenden's first try against London Nigerian. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Ed Preston scored Harpenden's first try against London Nigerian. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

Harpenden bounced back to winning ways with a 31-19 success at home to London Nigerian.

The win lifted them above their opponents into ninth position of the London North West Two table and banished memories of their nightmare defeat to Honourable Artillery Company last Saturday.

However, they got off to the worst possible start when they allowed Sam Moorby to race through their defence on five minutes and touch down under the posts.

And although Harps centre Tom Stagg kicked a penalty shortly afterwards, Nigerian extended their lead on 12 minutes when Caolan Cotter again exploited Harps’ defensive frailties with another try.

At this point Harps rallied and started to wrestle control of the game.

And after Stagg kicked another penalty, Ed Preston finished off a move involving Ash Smith and Ollie Mann.

Harpenden tightened the screw early in the second half with two more Stagg penalties, before Mann raced over on 57 minutes for a great try, made by a wonderful run and pass by right wing Adam Wilkinson. Stagg duly converted.

Most Read

Nigerian were not finished though and launched a series of counter attacks deep inside Harps territory and it was only great defence, typified by a crunching tackle by full-back Luke Barber, that prevented them from scoring.

Having weathered the storm, Harps went on the attack again and were awarded a penalty try, again converted by Stagg, on 75 minutes after the visitors had conceded a series of penalties at the scrum.

A late Joe Harris try was a mere consolation for Nigerian.

Skipper Oli Lacey said: “It took us a while to get going because they really flew out of the blocks. It was only when we were two tries down that we started to warm up, and in the second half we were doing what we wanted to do.

“This victory sets us up well for our next two games [Tabard on December 10 and Stockwood Park December 17] which are definitely winnable.”