'Great day' for Harps as promotion is confirmed with rout over Romford

PUBLISHED: 12:04 17 April 2019

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

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He was bathed in sweat and champagne but it was a mixture of bewilderment and sheer joy that shone through for skipper Oli Lacey after Harpenden's incredible 60-6 win over Romford & Gidea Park earned them promotion to London One.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

It was in complete contrast to the mood round Redbourn Lane last season when victory over Hampstead on the final day of the regular season seemed to give them a place in the London Two North promotion play-off, only to see that cruelly ripped away from them by an administrative error.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

But after a slow start to the season, Harpenden ended it in sheer style with a hugely-impressive eight-try demolition of their Essex visitors.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

Lacey said: “We said at the end of last season, what with everything that happened, that we were halfway there and this was the season we were going to push on and do it.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

“It didn't quite work in the first half of the season as we had a lot of injuries but we pushed through and gave ourselves a shot.

Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden celebrate promotion after Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

“It's a great day.”

Harpenden score a penalty during Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden score a penalty during Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

The win saw three tries for Michael Goode and one each for Tom Sanders, Will Hales, Tom Sweeney, Jack Pennell and Billy Sach.

Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

Sweeney added to his personal tally with a near-perfect display of kicking, landing seven conversions and two penalties.

Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

But it was the forwards who stole the show with the opening four tries in a 16-minute salvo either side of half-time crushing any resistance from Romford.

Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

“I don't think anybody expected us to play as well as we did,” said a almost disbelieving Lacey. “Credit to Romford, they kept at it but we were just too good.

Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

“We struggled a bit in the first half but the forwards were immense and the backs woke up in the second half with some really nice tries.

Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

“I'm just really happy, it's been a great season.

Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

“Sixty points is unbelievable.

Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

Even in the immediate aftermath of the victory there was still time to think of next season, with Lacey saying that despite the departure of Tagen Strydom back to South Africa, there are a number of players ready to come back from injury.

Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019Harpenden RFC vs Romford & Gidea Park RFC, London 2 Promotion Play-Off Rugby Union at Redbourn Lane on 13th April 2019

However, before the planning for that truly kicks in there could be even more celebrations for Harpenden as they look forward to the final of the Herts Presidents' Tankard against Stevenage Town on April 28.

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