Harpenden secure place in National semi finals
RFU National Under 17s London Irish 29 Harpenden 32 HARPENDEN Under 17s secured the London and South-East Divisional title and a place in the National semi finals with a thrilling win against London Irish at Woollams.
RFU National Under 17s
London Irish 29 Harpenden 32
HARPENDEN Under 17s secured the London and South-East Divisional title and a place in the National semi finals with a thrilling win against London Irish at Woollams.
The advantage of the heavyweight Irish pack was negated by strong and vocal support from the Harpenden contingent in the impressive crowd and they were soon celebrating. Tom Rhodes made the most of an excellent miss move to cross the line for a converted try under the posts on two minutes.
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London Irish responded with a try but Harpenden, led superbly by captain Jimmy Speirs, were soon back ahead. England youth international Owen Farrell broke through from a tap penalty and spun the ball wide to Dougie Norris who beat his opposite man on the outside to score in the corner. Shortly after, Courtney Dodds took advantage of excellent work by Louis Gabriel to score in the corner for a 17-7 lead to Harps.
The teams traded scores before half time with Irish kicking a penalty and converting a push over try. The Harpenden try came after David Arbuthnott cleared up at a line out and drove towards the Irish try line before linking with Louis Gabriel to score. Owen Farrell added the conversion.
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The second half was a battle as London Irish threatened, only for Harpenden to claim the first score. Owen Farrell chipped through for Courtney Dodds to claim his second try in the corner.
The Irish were not out of the game and two tries against an Owen Farrell drop goal made it close but the Harpenden defence held out with all 15 players on the field putting their bodies on the line.
All their efforts were worthwhile when the final whistle went and Harps were officially the best team in an area stretching from Norwich to Southampton and across to Dover.
Harpenden play their semi-final at Henley on Sunday, April 20, against the winners of the South-West Division.
Harpenden: Jimmy Speirs, Sean Longden, Michael Singleton, Toby Turk, Rory Grant, Zac Kent, George Barnes, David Arbuthnott, John Collins, Jack Cook, Owen Farrell, Tom Rhodes, Dougie Norris, Courtney Dodds, Adam Hills, Joe Beale, Andrew Brown, Tom Baker, Louis Gabriel, Luke Johnson, Ali Mills, Tris Francis.