Tabard close in on Harps

PUBLISHED: 11:43 12 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 06 May 2010

Tabard took the honours from the local derby with Harpenden.

Tabard took the honours from the local derby with Harpenden.

London North West Three Harpenden 5 Tabard 9 In a tense and exciting game on Saturday, with Tabard pitching their forward superiority against Harpenden s free running three quarters, Tabard won the day and ended up beating the league leaders. Tabard were

London North West Three

Harpenden 5 Tabard 9

In a tense and exciting game on Saturday, with Tabard pitching their forward superiority against Harpenden's free running three quarters, Tabard won the day and ended up beating the league leaders.

Tabard were on top in the set scrums with a fine performance from the front row of James Collette, Mitchell Ray and Nigel Gough and the lineouts came their way as well with big Josh Sio monopolising the front.

Added to this, Tabard's fine rucking ensured that Harpenden spent long periods defending the Tabard pressure and only fine defence kept Tabard out.

Harpenden always looked menacing though and when they did break out, only fine tackling by all the Tabard team kept them from scoring.

Tabard started the better and the first half definitely belonged to the visitors with the forwards playing a fine mauling game and the three-quarters using the ball wisely. However, it was left to two penalties from scrum half Andy Murphy to give Tabard the half time lead at six points to nil.

The second half was a similarly enthralling tussle but Harpenden opened up strongly and finished strongly with Tabard controlling the middle period of the half.

At the start Harpenden were quickly into the Tabard 22m area and, after three minutes, the ball was passed rapidly down the line to out flank the Tabard defence and enable wing Kearns to score in the corner. A difficult conversion attempt failed and Tabard retained the lead by a single point.

Tabard now came back into the game with the same mixture as the first half and only some good Harpenden tackling kept the Tabard thrusts out although centre Mike Thomas and flanker Cam O'Connor came close.

Midway through the half Tabard got another penalty, this time converted by stand off Gerry Arasa, to stretch the lead but the game was still there for either side to win.

Tabard maintained the pressure on their opponents but without an end result and then Harpenden mounted a massive onslaught in an attempt to snatch victory.

The visitors were forced onto the back foot and gave away a number of penalties putting Harpenden ever closer to the Tabard line where they continually tried to force their way through, although using the three-quarters may have been a better option.

However, Tabard survived and the final whistle ended the game with Tabard the victors by nine points to five.

Harpenden will look to bounce back next weekend when they travel to London Nigerians while Tabard are at home to Hammersmith and Fulham with kick off 3.00pm at their Cobden Hill ground in Radlett.

Tabard: Hopcroft, Roberts, Thomas, Matheson, Austerberry, Arasa, Murphy (Cooper 48m), Collette, Ray, Gough, Sio, Montague, O'Connor, Settle and Stoba.

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