Harpenden ease to win
London North West 3 Harpenden 20 Hampstead 9 Harpenden welcomed a revived Hampstead to Redbourn Lane on a crisp day that could prove pivotal to both sides promotion aspirations. Harpenden started much the brighter but, with the Men in Black s backline f
London North West 3
Harpenden 20 Hampstead 9
Harpenden welcomed a revived Hampstead to Redbourn Lane on a crisp day that could prove pivotal to both sides' promotion aspirations.
Harpenden started much the brighter but, with the Men in Black's backline flirting with danger and loaded with talent, Hampstead always knew they had their collective hands full.
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Bullocking runs by Messer's Kearns and Speirs set the tone for the day which had the massive home support on their feet. With conditions underfoot not ideal for running rugby, given the unseasonable weather, Harpenden stuck to their core strengths; a combination of quick ruck-ball and clever lines of running from the backs.
As early as the 15th minute Harpenden roared into life with Reed and Hoare combining well for fly-half Tennant to slip a pass to the in-form Alan Barton. His dexterous pass to Jack Haddock fooled the on-rushing defence and the pace of the winger saw him finish with aplomb.
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Hampstead's response was swift and lethal with Harpenden infringing in key areas of the field allowing the away side's fly half to get his side on the scoreboard. Two well taken kicks had the London club in a one point lead, which again roused Harpenden into a fight back. With conditions underfoot deteriorating rapidly, Harpenden switched to their back up plan, which placed greater onus on the forwards. A kick by fly half Tennant resulted in a steal by second rower Cornthwaite from which the Harpenden pack drove dangerously towards the white line. Several clever but tightly controlled phases of play resulted in Reed crashing close to the line with his clever offload falling in to the grateful mittens of Arrowsmith, who went over the line for a decisive score shortly before half time.
Within minutes of the restart a show and go by Tennant set the tone for a frantic and fast-paced 10 minutes, with the spectators barely back in their seats. The chip ahead caused panic in the away side's ranks and when their open side was penalised for not releasing, Jonny Barton confidently stepped up and added three vital points to the total.
Harpenden's slim-line pack was working overtime to fight for any loose ball, while trying to avoid giving away needless penalties. They managed both as Dan Tennant produced a brutal defensive cover tackle on the opposition centre.
With a little over 25 minutes remaining Harpenden introduced Peters to the front row and re-introduced fan's favourite Dumpleton to the first team from his travels. The impact was keenly felt by Hampstead.
Over-zealous rucking allowed Hampstead an avenue back into the game as a well-struck penalty again provided them with three vital points, which took them to within just four points of the hosts.
Hampstead forced their luck once too often, attempting to chip replacement Dumpleton, who gratefully accepted the present, and trundled his way over the line to score. The conversion from near the touchline completed the scoring to seal Harpenden's eighth straight league win.
Next up for the Men in Black is a trip to Imperial Medics.
Harpenden: Peck M (Peters 65), Tennant D, Bunn, Peck W, Cornthwaite (Dumpleton 70), Hoare, Arrowsmith, Reed, Humphries, Tennant J, Barton J, Haddock (Horman 75), Speirs, Kearns, Barton.