Clinical Harpenden produce the goods with Hammersmith & Fulham success

PUBLISHED: 15:39 11 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:39 11 January 2017

Connor McLean in action for Harpenden. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Connor McLean in action for Harpenden. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Archant

An impressive second-half performance against resilient opponents saw Harpenden beat Hammersmith & Fulham 26-13 – notching up a fourth successive win in the process.

The victory cements their fifth place in London Two North West and puts them in an excellent frame of mind for the visit to fourth-placed Belsize Park on Saturday, when they will seek to avenge a 13-6 defeat suffered in October.

However, Harps got off to a poor start and were 3-0 down on five minutes to a penalty.

The damage, though, might have been considerably worse had not stand-off Ollie Mann prevented what looked to be a certain try in the opening minute with a brilliant cover tackle.

After weathering the storm, Harps went ahead on 10 minutes when Adam Wilkinson got on the end of a measured chip by Mann.

Harry Hutchins added the extra points.

Harpenden should have gone further ahead but, despite the hardworking pack winning plenty of possession, errors meant they could not conjure up a killer pass during the remainder of the first-half.

Whatever was said during the break certainly worked because they began the second half in sensational style.

In the opening minute Hutchins pounced to score a try under the posts, which he duly converted, and five minutes later outside centre Nick Childs went over for a try in the left corner.

Childs deprarted soon after with a yellow card for a high tackle and that threatened to derail Harpenden’s momentum.

And it was the Londoners who scored next through Jason Bray. But any hopes they then had of securing a losing bonus point were snuffed out late on when Harps replacement full-back back Conor McLean stormed in for a great try, again converted by Hutchins.

Hammersmith did have the final word though, with an excellent try in closing minute by James Lo.

Harpenden captain Oli Lacey said: “This was one of our best performances of the season. Although we did leave three or four tries on the pitch in the first half, we far more clinical in the second and coped really well when we were down to 14 men.

“We’ve been working on our defence in training and it really showed today.”

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