Harpenden fall to second successive defeat

Tom Rolfe in action for Harpenden. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Tom Rolfe in action for Harpenden. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

Harpenden Rugby Club slumped to a second successive defeat in London North West Two when they were beaten 13-6 by league newcomers Belsize Park.

The defeat means Harps have dropped to seventh place after a positive opening to the year.

As the scoreline suggests, there was, in many ways, little to choose between the two sides and had Harpenden normally potent back line not regularly misfired, the result might have been different.

By the same token though, had Park been able to play their regular place kicker, the margin of their victory might have been a lot more convincing because they failed to take advantage of several relatively simple point-scoring opportunities.

After weathering early pressure, Harps launched a series of attacks and went ahead on five minutes when full-back Tom Sweeney kicked a penalty.

With the pack dominant and number eight Ed Preston and stand-off Ollie Mann making a series of surging runs, it seemed only a matter of time to many supporters before they increased their lead.

But it was the Londoners who scored next when Chris Dan powered over the line for a try on 20 minutes and Jonathan Whitehead increased their lead with a penalty kick seven minutes later.

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Three times in the second half Park were reduced the 14 men, the result of yellow cards.

But with the exception of a Sweeney penalty on 55 minutes Harps were unable to capitalise on their numerical superiority, for although the pack won plenty of ball, the backs just could not craft a way through the visitors’ defence.

Captain Oli Lacey said: “This was a disappointing result against an albeit good side.

“Our performance would normally have beaten 80 per cent of the sides in this league.

“We must learn and push on so we are fully ready for Enfield Ignatians on Saturday.”