Harpenden’s promotion chances blown away by Fullerians

Harpenden's chances of promotion slipped after defeat to Fullerians. Picture: MELISSA PAGE

Harpenden's chances of promotion slipped after defeat to Fullerians. Picture: MELISSA PAGE - Credit: Archant

Harpenden Rugby Club’s hopes of promotion from London North West Two disappeared in the space of 10 second-half minutes against Fullerians.

Leading 12-8 with just over 20 minutes to go hopes were high that Harpenden could hang on and take a valuable step towards the higher division.

But Fullerians, who started the day in second position, had other ideas and ran in three converted tries as the visitors slumped to a 29-12 defeat.

The loss sees Harpenden drop to sixth in the table, now 13 points adrift of the top two.

Harps had been the better team for much of the first half, despite having to play up Fullerians’ pronounced slope and deservedly led at the break.

Left wing Ash Smith opened the scoring on seven minutes, pouncing on a pinpoint kick ahead by centre Ollie Brown.

Fullerians hit back five minutes later when poor defence enabled full-back Matt Deane to sweep in for a try in the right-hand corner.

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Then on 25 minutes the hosts grabbed the lead with a Dan Evans penalty.

The advantage was short-lived though. Hooker Alex Randall touched down by the posts after a kick ahead by prop Oli Lacey.

Tom Sweeney duly converted to take the score to 12-8.

Stout defence and fine driving play kept Harpenden on top for the remainder of the half but that would soon change after the turnaround.

Fullerians exploded out of the traps with their powerful pack dominating the scrums but for 17 minutes Harpenden deflected every attack.

However, a yellow card for skipper Michael Goode proved critical.

Simon Lye dived over to put the Watford side in front and five minutes later the No.8 finished off another move.

Ben Redler put the result beyond any doubt with a bonus point try shortly after.

Harps are in action again this Saturday when they entertain fourth-placed Hampstead at Redbourn Lane.