Kentish kicks St Albans to the top but derby disappoints
London Three North West St Albans 15 Harpenden 13 ST ALBANS came out victorious in their top-of-the-table clash with local rivals Harpenden. A large crowd gathered to see the two sides go head to head but the game failed to live up to it s pre-match bill
London Three North West
St Albans 15 Harpenden 13
ST ALBANS came out victorious in their top-of-the-table clash with local rivals Harpenden. A large crowd gathered to see the two sides go head to head but the game failed to live up to it's pre-match billing.
The early play was disjointed and scrappy. Inside ten minutes St Albans had conceded a converted try and had two players in the sin bin, both for technical offences. The try was a good one, showing the pace and handling skills of the young Harpenden backs.
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Mark Kentish reduced the arrears with a penalty and the game settled down. Scoring chances were restricted to penalty kicks and before half time Kentish had kicked two, with Harpenden adding one of their own. In the final minutes of the half, a third yellow card was flourished, reducing Harpenden to 14 men.
The second half continued very much along the lines of the first but neither side seemed able to sustain any passage of play. Although Harpenden continued to spread the ball wide they rarely broke free and never seriously threatened the try line. St Albans also struggled and only once broke the shackles of Harpenden's defence when centre Gareth Lane made a fine break. Harpenden extended their lead midway through the second half with another penalty.
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The St Albans forwards came to life in the final quarter and began forcing Harpenden into a series of errors. Mark Kentish reduced the deficit to one point with a fine long-range kick. As the St Albans pack turned the screw so the penalty count rose. The inevitable fourth yellow card appeared and Harpenden were again reduced to 14 players. Kentish saw two long-range efforts drift wide and as time slipped by it looked as though Harpenden might take the points. But with two minutes left on the clock Harpenden were again penalised at the ruck and Kentish stepped up to put St Albans into the lead for the first time.
Following the victory, St Albans join Harpenden at the top of the league with only points difference separating them but this was a disappointing performance and only towards the end of the game did any fluency enter their play. Harpenden also disappointed and apart from an early try their high-scoring back division failed to make serious inroads. Mark Kentish was the star of the day with a personal tally of 15 points.