Harpenden’s push for promotion continues with Stockwood Park victory

Ollie Mann in action for Harpenden. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Ollie Mann in action for Harpenden. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

Harpenden Rugby Club moved to the top of London North West Two leaving captain Oliver Lacey to state “this is the year we push for promotion”.

The 45-15 win over Stockwood Park saw Harpenden run in seven tries at Redbourn Lane and follow on from their opening day success at Harrow.

Since dropping back to this level in 2010, Harpenden have been slowly improving their final league position year-on-year, culminating in last season’s fourth place.

And they believe this season will be the one where they could return to the top of the tree.

Lacey said: “Before we’d even started pre-season we all sat down and decided that this year was going to be the year we absolutely pushed for promotion.

“We’ll be targeting bonus point wins from every game. Hopefully we can carry on as we have started.

“We’re pretty happy with the win [over Stockwood Park]. We didn’t play the shape we wanted, that went to pieces in the first half, but we had the quality to score points in the end.

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“We’re happy with the bonus point, that’s two wins from two and hopefully we can push on and win next week.

“We had injury worries today, there are quite a few people out. I think we ended the game with three hookers and five back-rows on the pitch.

“So to get 45 points with that is a really good achievement so we’re really happy.

“We were playing from everywhere. We were playing good open rugby, even in our own 22. That’s the sort of game we want to play this year and score lots of tries.”

Jack Pennell led the way with two tries in what turned out to be a convincing success.

A penalty try on four minutes set them on their way although Park hit back with a well-executed catch and drive from a line-out moments later.

But that would be the closest they would get for the remainder of the afternoon.

Ash Smith didn’t need any of the four-man overlap he had to go in behind the posts and Adam Wilkinson dived over from the back of a ruck as the half closed.

Connor McLean got the bonus point score early into the second period and Pennell got himself onto the scoresheet after a great break from his own 22 by Charlie Spence.

Jones pulled one back for Stockwood but Harpenden kept the pressure up with Ollie Mann finding a hole in the now tiring visiting defence.

To their credit the Luton-based side never gave up and added a carbon copy of the opening score, Childs dotting down after another sensational catch and drive.

But Harpenden rightly had the last word deep into added time when Pennell got his second.

Tristan Francis added the extras, his fifth successful kick of the day, to end a good day at the office for Harps.

They face Hammersmith & Fulham on Saturday in London.