Harpenden come out on top as old rivals clash for the final time

Harpenden RFC's U18 team
Back row: Chris Cullen, Conor McLean, Frazer Pegler, Harry Hutchins, Chris

Harpenden RFC's U18 team Back row: Chris Cullen, Conor McLean, Frazer Pegler, Harry Hutchins, Chris Brownlie, Locke Gilmore, Curtis Reynolds, Ollie Barlow, Ed Cripps, Jafore Hussein. Front row: Tim Bitrim, Tom Day, Michael Bond, Lewis Daly, Lewis Malcolm-Hancock, Austin Phillips, Bryn Willis. - Credit: Archant

Harpenden U18s beat rivals OAs 20-12 to reach county cup final

Harpenden U18s booked their place in the Herts County Cup final after battling past a resilient Old Albanian side at Woollams.

Fly-half Tim Bitrim was inspirational for the Redbourn Lane outfit, keeping them in contention with his kicks in blustery conditions, before second-half tries from Frazer Pegler and Harry Hutchins finally broke OA’s resolve.

The teams have been fierce rivals for over 12 seasons, with Sunday being the last meeting before the players move into senior rugby. Harpenden drew first blood, with Bitrim splitting the upright despite kicking into a driving headwind, but OAs went into the break 5-3 ahead after an unconverted try.

The hosts stretched their lead with to 12-3, but that was where the game changed. With a ferocious wind at his back, Bitrim had the chance to kick another penalty. The fly-half blasted the ball towards the posts. It looked to be sailing wide until a gust of wind righted its trajectory and pushed it through the posts.

Spurred on by their good luck, Locke Gilmour pushed Harpenden in to OA’s territory where Pegler bulldozed his way over the line to give the visitors a slender, one-point lead.

With all the momentum in Harpenden’s favour, Hutchins settled the tie. He knifed through a gap in the defence and carried three players over the line to touch down. Aptly, Bitrim kicked the final points of the game to secure Harpenden’s place in the final.

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