Men in Black hammer home advantage

PUBLISHED: 17:32 16 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:34 06 May 2010

London North West Three Harpenden 21 Hammersmith & Fulham 18 HARPENDEN won a tough clash with Hammersmith & Fulham on Saturday in London North West Three. After 25 minutes the Men in Black scored the first try following a scorching backline move

London North West Three

Harpenden 21 Hammersmith & Fulham 18

HARPENDEN won a tough clash with Hammersmith & Fulham on Saturday in London North West Three.

After 25 minutes the Men in Black scored the first try following a scorching backline move which culminated in debutante Tom Musket sliding over in the corner. Quick ruck ball allowed a bullet-like pass from J Homan to Tennant, whose wide arching pass found Childs in space. He fed Muskett to beat his man on outside to score. The cultured right boot of Jonny Barton clipped a low-slung kick over the upright for a 13-6 half time lead.

Harpenden although often second best in the contact area produced a much more effective kicking game and their backs often sparkled.

Hammersmith were in part architects of their own downfall. Their pack, although more powerful lacked the fluidity at the set pieces to cause real trouble. When Hammersmith did produce scoring opportunities they ran aground by the excellent cover defence, as first Childs and then McDonald snuffed out these raids. Harps added another try when a delayed pass from Homan to Tennant, was followed by a flat pass to McDonald who drew in two defenders and stylishly offloaded to Nick Childs to score for 18-6.

With the introduction of Arrowsmith for Harmer, and the Homans swapping places due to a nasty clash of heads, Harpenden were soon extending their lead.

A crunching tackle from Hoare allowed McDonald to try to pilfer from the incumbent attacker. With the ball not being released in time the referee awarded the home side a penalty some 35 metres out. Barton stepped up and clipped the ball over to restore some parity at 21-13.

With only 10 minutes remaining in the game, Harpenden showed an increase in physicality at the breakdown which had been lacking. Peck and McDonald ensured the scrums were at their most proficient, and the effervescent figure of Tom Hoare kept the ball-stealers at bay with an unselfish performance.

With captain Tennant kicking well and deep, and with the chasing backrow giving Hammersmith little time to dwell on the ball Harpenden could sense the finishing line.

The game was not over though and the Hammersmith blindside flanker scuttled through several tackles and again offloaded, this time to the robust 12 who scored neatly. The conversion was missed and Harpenden celebrated their win which was a lot closer than it needed to have been, 21-18. Tom Hoare was named Man of the Match for Harpenden.

Harpenden: J. McDonald, D. Tennant, Collins, Edge, Harmer, Adams, Reed, Hoare, J. Homan, J. Tennant, J. Barton, A. Barton, Muskett, Childs, j. McDonald. Subs: Peck, Arrowsmith, T. Homan.

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