Snowball picking up speed as Harpenden continue their charge towards promotion

Tom Sweeney scored three tries and kicked 16 points for Harpenden against Hammersmith & Fulham.

Tom Sweeney scored three tries and kicked 16 points for Harpenden against Hammersmith & Fulham. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Harpenden hit a second half-century in a row as their London Two North West promotion snowball gathers pace.

Their 56-7 win over Hammersmith & Fulham at Redbourn Lane followed their 52-13 success away to Welwyn and keeps them second in the table, six points behind leaders Belsize Park and seven ahead of Chiswick in third.

And for skipper Oli Lacey, who had said securing points was the most important thing for the club after their previous win in the garden city, this was another step in the right direction.

He said: “We couldn’t finish things off in the first half, thanks in no small part to some excellent defence by Hammersmith.

“But we fixed things in the second half and played some really good rugby.

“We have a mantra in the team that we must keep the snowball rolling each game to get it bigger.

“Well this afternoon it’s just got bigger again.”

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Harps began strongly but despite having most of the possession and territory they were unable to unlock the Londoners’ defence.

However, that changed on 17 minutes when Tagen Strydom went over for a try following a powerful run by hooker Jack Murphy and Tom Sweeney duly converted.

Sweeney added two penalties either side of a Cale Holmes try for the visitors and then kicked another conversion just before the break after Fred Gulliford got try number two.

Any hopes the Londoners harboured of getting back into the game were firmly dashed by two tries in five minutes, both by Sweeney, and a third score of the half on 50 minutes by Strydom, getting on the end of an Ollie Mann kick ahead.

To their credit Hammersmith & Fulham continued to make a real fight of it but Ryan Gue marked his return to the team after a spell in the USA by going over for Harps’ sixth try and Sweeney completed his hat-trick shortly after.

The last word went to Gue who got his second try following a rolling maul on the final play of the game.

Harps are next in action at Enfield Ignatians on February 9.