Smith at the treble in Harpenden's nine-try demolition of Staines
PUBLISHED: 11:47 22 March 2016 | UPDATED: 11:47 22 March 2016
Winger Ashley Smith scored a hat-trick as Harpenden recorded an emphatic 53-22 win away to relegation-threatened Staines.
Smith’s treble came among a total of nine tries; Michael Goode and Rob Smith both getting two and Zak Kent and Nick Childs one each.
Conditions underfoot were perfect for running rugby but it was the hosts who made the better start, scoring the opening try after eight minutes.
That stung Harpenden into action and Smith’s charge through the Staines defence allowed Goode to score, converted by fly-half Ollie Mann.
Goode got his second, dropping onto the ball after a five-metre scrum was pushed over the line, a fact made even more impressive when you consider influential lock Ed Preston had left the field with injury.
His job was taken up by flanker Tom Sanders; the latter’s replacement was the multi-talented Alex Randall whose fan-base is increasing by the week.
The reshuffle that followed didn’t affect Harpenden and they ran in four more tries before half time, all four scored by the Smith’s, two for Rob and two for Ashley.
Only one was converted by full-back Tristan Francis however, although he was unfortunate to see his third attempt come back off the upright.
They thought they had extended their 34-7 lead early in the second half but the referee ruled Sean McLoughlin had been held-up.
And as the half progressed Harpenden took their foot off the gas, allowing the sides to share six further tries.
Two of the Staines scores were towards the end of the game but they did bring the hosts a possibly valuable bonus point.
However, this was Harpenden’s day and the win keeps them in the top half of the London North West Two table with three games to go.
Next up is the final home league game of the season against Old Haberdashers on April 2, which is followed by trips to Woodford and HAC.