No double for Harpenden as North Walsham are crowned champions

Tom Rolfe was forced off with injury in Harpenden's defeat at North Walsham. Picture: DANNY LOO

Tom Rolfe was forced off with injury in Harpenden's defeat at North Walsham. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: DANNY LOO

North Walsham got ample revenge for their only defeat of the season as not only did they beat Harpenden 33-3 but the five-try victory also handed them the London One North title.

The championship was always the likely outcome for the runaway leaders but the Norfolk side were still smarting from the 31-29 defeat at Redbourn Lane back in November, the only blemish in their 22 games so far.

The loss also halted Harpenden's surge up the table, this being their first defeat in six games.

It keeps them in fourth and five points behind Colchester who moved into the play-off spot with a 27-25 win at Old Haberdashers.

Harps went behind as early as the fifth minute when their hosts found a gap through the middle to score under the posts.

Stand-off Declan Raubenheimer then landed a penalty but that would prove to be the only score they would register.

They weren't helped by the loss of second-row forward Tom Rolfe who was forced off on 20 minutes with a leg injury. That necessitated Ed Preston moving into replace him with Michael Goode on at number eight.

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And North Walsham showed no mercy as they repeated the trick from their first try, Jake Duffield charging through the middle.

Towards the end of the half they broke through the defence again, this time on the left with Matthew Hodgson getting the score.

Harps did make a better start to the second half but they could not create sufficient and consistent enough pressure to get over the line.

And Hodgson killed any hopes they had of a comeback, scoring after yet another clean break and bringing up the bonus point.

Goode received a yellow card whilst attempting to disrupt a driving maul close to his own line and although the visitors coped well with 14 men, North Walsham did find a fifth score, although unlike the previous four attempts this conversion was missed.

Harpenden have a few weeks off now to lick their wounds and prepare for the final four games of the season with their next match at home to Chingford not until March 21.

Harpenden: Mahmood, McLoughlin, Campion, Rolfe, Lacey, Jillians, Tane, Preston, Gulliford, Raubenheimer, Hague-Blundy, Deane, Speirs, Baggio, McLean. Replacements: Goode, Govier, Simcott.