Harpenden start new adventure with emphatic win over Old Priorians
- Credit: DANNY LOO
Harpenden may have been promoted to a higher league but there were no first day nerves as they powered to an emphatic seven-try victory at home to Old Priorians.
The 47-5 success against the west Londoners in London One North came courtesy of a powerful pack providing a new and exciting backline with plenty of attacking opportunities, which they gobbled up with glee.
There were two tries for Max Baggio while the newly-returned Bobby Tane, Tom Sweeney and Ollie Mann also crossed the whitewash.
Sweeney missed with just one of his seven conversion attempts.
While naturally happy with the tries scored, jubilant skipper Oli Lacey praised the defensive aspects of his team's game.
He said: "We were confident before the game of getting a result because we knew we had the power up front and were bolstered by new players coming into the back-line.
"But it was our defence that won us the game because at 14-0 it still could have gone either way."
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After cagey opening exchanges in which neither side was able to dominate, Deane broke the deadlock on 15 minutes when he raced on to a Tane pass to touch down near the posts.
And three minutes later Tane, back at Harpenden after a year in Spain, went over in the left-hand corner after a great break by teenage winger Henry Simcott.
Priorians fought desperately to get back into the game but despite enjoying plenty of possession and territory, fantastic defence by Harps kept them out and preserved the 14-0 half-time lead.
Five minutes into the second half Sweeney scored the try of the day, racing 70 metres after OPs had spilled possession deep inside the hosts' 22.
And eight minutes later right-wing Baggio brought up the try bonus point when he touched down following another break by the impressive Deane.
Deane got his second try on 65 minutes after a fine run by Tom Stagg and shortly afterwards Baggio touched down for his second and Harps' sixth try after another Deane break.
OPs, who had continued to battle hard, were finally rewarded with a try on 77 minutes by hooker Ben Ridley.
But the last word belonged to Harpenden when Mann capped a superb display with a try under the posts in the final play of the game.