Harpenden fail Medical
London Three North West Harpenden 15 Imperial Medicals 18 HARPENDEN began their game against league high-flyers Imperial Medicals with first team prop and 26-year club servant Andy Pubs Kiff leading out the Redbourn Lane side for the final time
London Three North West
Harpenden 15 Imperial Medicals 18
HARPENDEN began their game against league high-flyers Imperial Medicals with retiring first team prop and 26-year club servant Andy 'Pubs' Kiff leading out the Redbourn Lane side for the final time.
The game began in excellent conditions for running rugby and it was the home side who took the initiative first with some probing runs by Dumpleton and Allerton alike.
The deadlock was broken in the 20th minute by fly-half and captain Joe Tennant's surreptitious chip kick and catch, as the onrushing Medics' defence closed in, brought a seven point haul. Dutifully, Jonny Barton converted.
Harpenden remained in the ascendancy but were guilty of wasting chances.
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The Men in Black were made to pay for their lack of killer instinct when a neat off-load by the Medics fly half to the onrushing centre, coupled with a neatly taken penalty, made the half-time score 10-7.
The second half began with an increase in physicality and intensity, which Harpenden matched in all areas of the game. The scrum, a source of many of Harpenden's problems in previous games, was rock solid, with Kiff and Long making heavyweight contributions to the tight areas. With number eight, Dumpleton, seeing yellow for a very minor indiscretion, the away side punished Harpenden with a well-taken penalty to lead 13-7.
Some plucky running by both Tennant and Kearns brought just reward as Medics were guilty of slowing possession and it was left to Jonny Barton again to add an invaluable three points to keep his side within touching distance. Tackles flew in from defenders Peck, Allerton and Morgan as Harpenden fought ferociously but Medics' physicality and outstanding ball retention proved too much as their second row scored from inches out to make it 18-10.
With the clock running out, it was left to the Harpenden backline to re-ignite the interest of the neutral with a series of runs from within their own half. A clever line and offload by Barton provided Dumpleton with the chance to release winger Payne for a deserved score out wide, reducing the final deficit to 18-15.
Harpenden: Hoare, D. Tennant, Kiff, Peck, Long, Chichester-Miles, Allerton, Dumpleton, Morgan, J. Tennant, J. Barton, A. Barton, Evans, Payne, Kearns. Subs: Collins, Smith, Arrowsmith.
Harpenden III team will be playing in the final of their merit table cup this weekend. The game is at Redbourn Lane with a 3pm kick off.