No change at top following Harpenden win over Hackney as season heads towards dramatic end
PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 March 2018
It’s as you were at the top of London North West Two as Harpenden defeated Hackney 27-5.
It keeps Harps in third as both HAC and Hampstead above them also won.
The trio still have three games to play but with Hampstead facing both of their rivals, the last match of the season seeing them head to Harpenden’s Redbourn Lane ground, the destiny of the two promotion spots will remain up for grabs for another few weeks at least.
This game, played in filthy conditions, saw Harpenden have to grind out the result.
It was one that was never really in doubt as the Hackney defence stood firm for long periods but the hosts were always the more likely to score.
The half-time score of 12-0 reflected the way the play had gone.
After 15 minutes Luke Barber took a pass from a line-out to score a good try and five minutes later, Hackney were forced on the back foot by a tremendous shove from the Harpenden pack, who played as one throughout.
Hackney could hold up this express train no longer, retreated 20 metres, and collapsed with the referee awarding a penalty try.
Five minutes into the second half, the Harpenden back row broke free from a set scrum and fed Callum Moyle, playing in place of Ollie Mann at fly-half, who raced in to score.
After a period when both sides found the conditions rather difficult, Barber scored his second with an individual score on the right, bringing up the four-try bonus point.
Hackney got their only score with 15 minutes to go but there was still time for Tom Sweeney to complete the scoring with a fifth Harpenden score.
Overall, Harps’ scrum was dominant but the line-out has played much better in other games this season.
However, although each side conceded eight penalties at the breakdown Harpenden were superior winning seven against their rivals two.
Their next game is at home to London Nigerian on Saturday at 3pm while HAC host Harrow and Hampstead go to Hemel Hempstead.
Harpenden finish the season with a trip to Harrow on April 7 before the potential winner-takes-all home game with Hampstead.