Harpenden go top with magical second-half show

PUBLISHED: 12:19 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 06 May 2010

London Three North West London New Zealand 10 Harpenden 39 Harpenden went top of the London Three North West table following a great second-half performance at London New Zealand. Coach Ali Barton made several changes to his squad as Jimmy Spiers tucked

London Three North West

London New Zealand 10

Harpenden 39

Harpenden went top of the London Three North West table following a great second-half performance at London New Zealand.

Coach Ali Barton made several changes to his squad as Jimmy Spiers tucked in on the bench. New Zealand belied their current league status and began the game with gusto.

They brought a strong hand to the field and didn't allow Harpenden to settle into their natural rhythm. They were physical and frustrated Harpenden at the breakdown, dominating territory and possession in the opening 15 minutes. Harpenden captain Joe Tennant was directing his team mates with aplomb, but the forwards failed to lay the platform the backs craved. NZ kicked well, and only diligent defence from Healy kept the Harps line in tact.

Tom Hoare was working hard to secure ball and again was a useful link to the lively Harpenden backs, ably aided by Harmer. Jack Cornthwaite, the scrum-capped flanker was in the thick of the action throughout but eventually NZ broke through. The home side blasted a hole through the heart of the Harpenden defence for a seven-point haul.

Back came Harpenden with a series of penalties precariously close to the NZ line and Jonny Barton kicked the goal to get the visitors on the score sheet.

Patterson then intercepted a thoughtless pass from their centre and raced to the line, for his easiest score of the season to date. The conversion was missed but back came Harpenden with power and purpose, and with the engine room finally starting to purr, Tennant began to kick aggressively in pursuit of territory.

A well struck NZ penalty was the final score of an absorbing half, making the score 13-10 to the visitors.

Battle recommenced as quickly as it had finished, with hostilities renewed for a pulsating second period. Harpenden settled much the quicker, with Jonny Barton smashing through several half tackles and dancing his way to the line. Barton added the extras with consummate ease and Harpenden never looked back. Musket made way for Spiers after an innocuous head injury.

Almost instantly Spiers dissected the NZ backline with ease, outpacing the covering defence and crossing the line with the conversion easily added. It was now one-way traffic as the hosts faded.

Kearns, employed in the first half as a defensive specialist, created the penultimate score with a shimmy and text-book offload to the now rampaging Spiers. The substitute's trajectory took him through his opposite number to score out wide. The conversion was narrowly missed but victory was virtually assured.

Cornthwaite intercepted an attempted offload close to the NZ line and touched down to complete an excellent victory for Harpenden.

Harpenden: Collins, D. Tennant, McDonald, Harmer, Green, Cornthwaite, Wilkinson, Hoare, Healy, J Tennant, A Barton, J Barton, Musket,Patterson, Kearns. Subs: Adams, Spiers.


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