Harpenden soar high up the table after six-try romp over Eton Manor

PUBLISHED: 16:33 23 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:55 28 December 2019

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Jimmy Spiers in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Jimmy Spiers in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Archant

Christmas came early for Harpenden as they avenged a narrow early season defeat by Eton Manor with a comprehensive 41-28 victory in front of the biggest crowd of the season at Redbourn Lane.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Adam Wilkinson celebrates scoring Harpenden second try.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Adam Wilkinson celebrates scoring Harpenden second try. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The six-try success means they are now sixth in the table and just five points off second.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Luke Govier in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Luke Govier in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The victory owed much to a superb first-half performance in which they ran in four tries in a blistering 30-minute spell.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Pete Simms in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Pete Simms in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

And although the visitors came back well in the last 20 minutes to secure a try bonus point, the final result was never in doubt.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Dan James in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Dan James in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden went ahead in the second minute with Tom Sweeney slotting a penalty from the half-way line. Three minutes later teenage left-wing Dan James fly-hacked a charge down to score a superb try under the posts, which Sweeney duly converted.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Dan James in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Dan James in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

On 14 minutes Adam Wilkinson, drafted in as an emergency scrum-half, darted over for a try after a line-out deep in Manor's 22.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Dan James in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Dan James in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Try number three arrived on the half-hour with James scorching in for his second try and five minutes later Jimmy Speirs brought up the bonus point, capitalising on a turnover.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Harpenden celebrate a try by Dan James.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Harpenden celebrate a try by Dan James. Picture: Karyn Haddon

All three tries were converted by Sweeney.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Harpenden celebrate a try by Dan James.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Harpenden celebrate a try by Dan James. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Manor continued to put up spirited opposition and were rewarded with a try of their own in the final play of the half when Frank Sullivan crashed over from a short distance.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Pete Simms in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Pete Simms in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Cameron Dutch's conversion made it 31-7 at the break.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Jimmy Spiers in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Jimmy Spiers in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Wilkinson helped to himself to his second try on 55 minutes but a yellow card for Harpenden's Conor McClean for a deliberate knock-on allowed Manor to notch two quickfire tries, the first from Mike Sage, converted by Dutch, and the second a penalty try.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Jimmy Spiers in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Jimmy Spiers in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Prop Harvey Beaton, who enjoyed a great afternoon, steadied the ship for the home side with a sixth try but with two further yellow cards for Wilkinson and replacement Luke Govier, Manor hit back with a fourth try from Jamie Milais on 75 minutes.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Oli Lacey in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Oli Lacey in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

They were unable to add a further score.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Oli Lacey in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Oli Lacey in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harps skipper Oli Lacey said: "If you had offered me this score before the match I would have grabbed it with both hands.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Adam Wilkinson celebrates scoring Harpenden second try.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Adam Wilkinson celebrates scoring Harpenden second try. Picture: Karyn Haddon

"But we are a little disappointed to have let them back into the game because in the first half we played some of the best rugby we have played all season."

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Luke Govier in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Luke Govier in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden's next game is at Colchester on January 4.

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Oli Lacey in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Oli Lacey in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Luke Govier in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Luke Govier in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Dan James in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Dan James in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden V Eton Manor - Jimmy Spiers and Michael Goode in action for Harpenden.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V Eton Manor - Jimmy Spiers and Michael Goode in action for Harpenden. Picture: Karyn Haddon


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