Title challenge remains on course as six-gun Harpenden shoot down Letchworth

PUBLISHED: 14:30 08 January 2019

Harpenden celebrate scoring. Picture: DANNY LOO

Harpenden celebrate scoring. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

Harpenden kept their championship challenge firmly on course with an emphatic six-try 38-17 win at bottom club Letchworth.

Harpenden number 10 is tackled by two Letchworth players. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden number 10 is tackled by two Letchworth players. Picture: DANNY LOO

It was their second double of the season and an important one too as London Two North West leaders Belsize Park picked up maximum points to maintain a six-point lead.

Harpenden with ball in hand. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden with ball in hand. Picture: DANNY LOO

However, the victory also maintains position in second, two points ahead of Chiswick but a huge 10 points clear of fourth-placed Hampstead.

Harpenden look to avoid a tackle. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden look to avoid a tackle. Picture: DANNY LOO

Adam Wilkinson and former St Albans coach Jeremy Walmsley both bagged two tries each while Jack Murphy and Michael Goode got one.

Harpenden hold off Letchworth during an attack. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden hold off Letchworth during an attack. Picture: DANNY LOO

Tom Sweeney landed four of his six conversion attempts.

Harpenden combine in the tackle to stop a Letchworth attack. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden combine in the tackle to stop a Letchworth attack. Picture: DANNY LOO

Harpenden skipper Oli Lacey was pleased to come away with the bonus point success but insists there is more to come.

Harpenden combine in the tackle to stop a Letchworth attack. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden combine in the tackle to stop a Letchworth attack. Picture: DANNY LOO

He said: “Our target today was five points so we’re delighted with the result.

Harpenden combine in the tackle to stop a Letchworth attack. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden combine in the tackle to stop a Letchworth attack. Picture: DANNY LOO

“At times we played really well, but there were also a few cobwebs left over from the Christmas break which meant that our finishing was not always as good as it should have been.”

Harpenden kick the ball forward. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden kick the ball forward. Picture: DANNY LOO

The finishing looked fine after just three minutes when Murphy powered over for the opening score, converted by Sweeney, but Lacey’s point was driven home by the next 20 minutes where despite the visitors enjoying most of the possession, it was Letchworth who scored next through a Tatenda Gurure try.

A desparing Harpenden dive misses as Letchworth number 10 goes over to score. Picture: DANNY LOOA desparing Harpenden dive misses as Letchworth number 10 goes over to score. Picture: DANNY LOO

Harpenden continued to squander good opportunities with three more going begging before half-time but they did manage to score twice more, Wilkinson and Walmsley getting the first of their braces.

A desparing Harpenden dive misses as Letchworth number 10 goes over to score. Picture: DANNY LOOA desparing Harpenden dive misses as Letchworth number 10 goes over to score. Picture: DANNY LOO

The early part of the second half was much closer as the hosts rallied and they were duly rewarded with a fine try by Josh Parkhouse on 45 minutes.

Harpenden tried hard to hit back quickly but strong defence by Letchworth kept them at bay and it wasn’t until the 63rd minute that Wilkinson, now at scrum-half in place of the injured Fred Gulliford, scored his second.

Walmsley followed him seven minutes later after a powerful run by winger Jack Pennell but Letchworth replied with a try for Maxime Rifaut on 77 minutes.

But the last word belonged to Harpenden as Goode completed a fine day by crashing over on the final play.

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