Harpenden supporters left wanting more despite fantastic Hampstead win
PUBLISHED: 06:30 26 January 2016
Harpenden Rugby Club pulled off a big 10-5 win over promotion-chasing Hampstead – but the consensus at a muddy Redbourn Lane was it could have been by more.
All 10 points came from centre Tom Sweeney, scoring one try and kicking a penalty and conversion.
An unconverted try pulled the visitors back within a score but Harpenden held on for the win.
It was certainly closer than it needed to be.
Hampstead had been reduced to 14 in the second half with a red card but had scored their try when the sides were briefly even again, Harps receiving a yellow.
But too many times kicks were badly directed, giving the opposition more possession than they deserved, and turnovers were coughed up at the breakdown.
Tenacious tackling from Nick Childs among others kept Hampstead out though and secured the win.
The match had begun with Harpenden very much on the front foot.
Scrum-half Jack Haddock was perpetually on the move and helped Harps stay in the visitors’ half for the best part of 20 minutes.
Hampstead did get some rare possession but back-row Bobby Tane was equal to anything they could throw at them.
A great break by Ollie Mann almost brought a score before half-time. Unfortunately while it had caught some of the defenders on the hop, it was also too quick for his support runners.
Injuries didn’t help Harpenden’s cause. Both Michael Goode and Alex Randall departed with knocks causing a reshuffle in the forwards.
But it was still Harps who opened the scoring.
Sweeney landed a huge kick from just inside the Hampstead half on 50 minutes before he stretched the hosts’ advantage with a blistering run from roughly the same position that left a number of defenders in his wake.
Ryan Gue and Fred Gulliford’s non-stop tackling and harrying of the Hampstead backs kept the lead intact until a quickly-tapped penalty found a gap to bring Hampstead back into it.
Fortunately for Harps, this was all they could manage.
Harpenden travel to in-form near-neighbours Welwyn on Saturday.