Harps come back for ‘best win this season’

Max Baggio scored twice for Harpenden at Chiswick. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Max Baggio scored twice for Harpenden at Chiswick. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

Harpenden’s promotion drive continued towards a potential winner takes all final day clash with Hampstead after they stormed to a 32-19 win away to Chiswick.

Harps remain third after the result, four points behind the north London outfit who picked up a 55-18 success at London Nigerian.

League leaders HAC are a further two points clear.

Saturday’s display in south-west London was one of their best this season as they came from behind to gain a highly-satisfying bonus point.

Harps skipper Oli Lacey said: “This is a big moment for us because Chiswick are a very good side who made it hard throughout the game.

“However, we kept our composure when we were behind at the start of the second half and made the right decisions when it mattered.”

After weathering an early storm, Harps went ahead on five minutes when wing Max Baggio raced in to touch down in the far right-hand corner.

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That lead increased on 16 minutes as stand-off Ollie Mann landed a well-taken penalty.

But from there Harpenden’s stranglehold of the game was broken, firstly through a Chiswick break which ended with scrum-half Russ Dovey scoring by the posts, and then through Matt Cooper who peeled off from a rolling maul to touch down.

However, it took Harps just three minutes of the second half to regain the lead, left-wing Fred Gulliford touching down following an excellent break by full-back Luke Barber.

Mann duly converted and he increased Harps’ lead to 18-12 with a penalty four minutes later.

The try of the game came on the hour. Barber, who was looking dangerous every time he had the ball, picked up a loose kick near Harpenden’s own 10-metre line and raced past five players to score under the posts.

Mann duly added the extra points.

Chiswick were not finished though and on 70 minutes replacement Luca Vanini reduced the deficit with a try under the posts, which was then converted to take the scoreline to 25-19.

But five minutes later Baggio made the game safe for Harps with his second try after a scorching run. Mann again added the extra points.

Harps’ next game is home to Hackney on March 3.