‘Great day’ for Harps as promotion is confirmed with rout over Romford

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

He was bathed in sweat and champagne but it was a mixture of bewilderment and sheer joy that shone through for skipper Oli Lacey after Harpenden’s incredible 60-6 win over Romford & Gidea Park earned them promotion to London One.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

It was in complete contrast to the mood round Redbourn Lane last season when victory over Hampstead on the final day of the regular season seemed to give them a place in the London Two North promotion play-off, only to see that cruelly ripped away from them by an administrative error.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

But after a slow start to the season, Harpenden ended it in sheer style with a hugely-impressive eight-try demolition of their Essex visitors.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Lacey said: “We said at the end of last season, what with everything that happened, that we were halfway there and this was the season we were going to push on and do it.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

“It didn’t quite work in the first half of the season as we had a lot of injuries but we pushed through and gave ourselves a shot.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo


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“It’s a great day.”

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

The win saw three tries for Michael Goode and one each for Tom Sanders, Will Hales, Tom Sweeney, Jack Pennell and Billy Sach.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

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Sweeney added to his personal tally with a near-perfect display of kicking, landing seven conversions and two penalties.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

But it was the forwards who stole the show with the opening four tries in a 16-minute salvo either side of half-time crushing any resistance from Romford.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

“I don’t think anybody expected us to play as well as we did,” said a almost disbelieving Lacey. “Credit to Romford, they kept at it but we were just too good.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

“We struggled a bit in the first half but the forwards were immense and the backs woke up in the second half with some really nice tries.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

“I’m just really happy, it’s been a great season.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

“Sixty points is unbelievable.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Even in the immediate aftermath of the victory there was still time to think of next season, with Lacey saying that despite the departure of Tagen Strydom back to South Africa, there are a number of players ready to come back from injury.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

However, before the planning for that truly kicks in there could be even more celebrations for Harpenden as they look forward to the final of the Herts Presidents’ Tankard against Stevenage Town on April 28.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Pl

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

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