Speirs helps drive Harpenden into the RFU National final
HARPENDEN Under 17s beat a strong Bournemouth side 33-20 on Sunday to progress to the final of the RFU National U-17 Cup. The two sides met at Henley RFC to play for a place in the final on Sunday, May 4.
HARPENDEN Under 17s beat a strong Bournemouth side 33-20 on Sunday to progress to the final of the RFU National U-17 Cup.
The two sides met at Henley RFC to play for a place in the final on Sunday, May 4. The conditions were perfect for Harpenden's high-octane style of play and in the end, cheered on by the travelling support, they ran the bigger Bournemouth side into the ground.
The foundations for this victory were laid by the front five who dominated the set-pieces to provide solid attacking ball and to negate the Bournemouth game plan. The back row fought ferociously to continuously cross the gain line and the backs attacked with flair and pace.
Harps had a great start when Tris Francis chased his own chip to score in the corner and Jack Cook converted with an excellent kick from wide out. Bournemouth brought the score level when after 15 minutes they took advantage of a mistake at the lineout to score a converted try.
Harps soon restored their lead when Jack Cook exploited space with a delicate chip for Louis Gabriel to collect and then beat two defenders to score a converted try under the posts. Bournemouth struck back with a penalty but the final score in the first half went to Harps when the forwards drove over the line for skipper Jim Speirs to touch down.
Shortly after the restart Bournemouth claimed a converted try in the corner, and then a penalty gave them a one point lead with 20 minutes to go.
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The setbacks only galvanised Harps into greater efforts. Tom Baker made an instant impact after coming on and he burrowed over in the corner for Harps to retake the lead. Jack Cook added the conversion with a monster kick from the touchline.
Harps then exerted more and more control as their superior fitness levels told. The final score came when a break by Adam Hills and Louis Gabriel was stopped just short of the line but Jimmy Speirs was on hand to dive under the posts for a converted try and a 33-20 win to Harps.
This was a superb effort by Harps and the final step of their journey takes them to the Sixways Stadium of Premiership club Worcester on Sunday, May 4 where they will play Lancashire club Tarleton.
Harpenden Under 17s: Jimmy Speirs (captain), Sean Longden, Michael Singleton, Toby Turk, Rory Grant, Zac Kent, David Arbuthnott, George Barnes, John Collins, Jack Cook, Tom Rhodes, Louis Gabriel, Dougie Norris, Courtney Dodds, Tris Francis, Joe Beale, Tom Baker, Andrew Brown, Adam Hills, Luke Johnson, Gus Williams, Ali Mills. Non-playing members: Rui Caetano, Michael Halliwell and Owen Farrell.