Harpenden lose top spot to Fullerians after defeat

Harpenden RFC v Fullerians

Harpenden RFC v Fullerians - Credit: Archant

Two tries from captain Michael Goode were not enough to stop Fullerians replacing Harpenden at the top of the London Two North West table.

Further tries from Jack Murphy and Tom Sweeney did bring a bonus point but two yellow cards did the home side no favours as they succumbed to a 35-24 reverse.

It was the visitors pack which proved to be the key, exerting a superiority over the home side.

The game began in ideal conditions on a firm pitch that made for easy scrummaging – that is if you were a Fullerian.

Goode, playing at No8, Michael Goode, tried his hardest to hold the pack together and the Harpenden second row performed well at the lineouts when required.

But the size of Liam Boyd and his partner were too much of a handful in the early stages of each half when Fullerians seemed to be on fire and particularly dangerous.

The Watford side, who were promoted as champions last year, scored twice in the opening 15 minutes.

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Second row Boyd and wing Dan Evans crossed the tryline, with Evans converting both.

It stung Harpenden into action who replied with tries of their own from Murphy and Sweeney, with the centre also adding both kicks.

And with two minutes to go to the break, Goode grabbed his first of the afternoon in some style.

Taking a tap penalty near the Fullerian 10 metre line, he sped down the field alongside touch to score a memorable try.

Despite Sweeney’s kick hitting the upright, Harpenden still went off 19-14 ahead.

Fullerians turned the screw however in the second half.

After 10 minutes of the second 40, and following a lot of pressure on the Harpenden line, the referee awarded a penalty try which Evans converted.

Soon after, Tom Williams chased a kick that split the Harpenden backs and raced in to score.

Evans converted again but was unsuccessful after Williams scored his second. Goode’s second brought the bonus point but was a mere consolation.

Harpenden did have their moments through the game.

Charlie Marchon at fly-half looked the part when his kicking found its target and the forwards did their best to take the game to the Fullerians heavy boys.

Nevertheless, the visitors impressed and were worthy winners.