Mann magic helps Harpenden to another success

Harpenden attack the line

Harpenden attack the line - Credit: Archant

Harpenden’s recent run of good form continued with a hard-fought 20-10 victory against a gritty Old Haberdashers outfit in their final home game of the season.

The win lifted them into fourth place in London Two North West and although the chance of promotion has long since passed, victories in their final two games could yet see them clinch third spot.

Although the exciting, flowing rugby that is usually Harps’ hallmark was in often in short supply, certainly in the opening 40 minutes, there was plenty for supporters to admire about their defence and work rate.

The first half was a pretty scrappy affair during which both sides struggled to impose themselves.

And although Harps had a couple of chances to open the scoring half-way through, it was Old Habs who did so when winger Jan Farrell touched down on 25 minutes in the right corner.

Just as referee Adam Hughes was checking his watch to see when to blow for half time Harps suddenly produced a great try out of nowhere.

Left wing Ash Smith began the move with a powerful run and, following some impressive hands, outside centre Tom Sweeney raced in under the posts for a fabulous try which he then converted to give Harps a 7-5 lead at the break.

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Harpenden looked much better in the second half and although they conceded a number of penalties, lock Zac Kent continually disrupted the visitors’ line-out ball when they chose to kick for touch.

After Sweeney had kicked a penalty on 65 minutes, stand-off Ollie Mann scored a stunning try on 70 minutes when he pounced on his kick ahead to score under the posts.

Sweeney duly converted and then landed another long-range penalty on 73 minutes.

Old Habs were certainly not finished, though, and flanker Matt Lowcock brought back them into the game with a try two minutes later, but firm defence by Harps ensured that they were denied even a losing bonus point.

Harps’ next game is at Woodford on April 16.