Win keeps Harpenden locked in four-way battle for second

Action from Harpenden's win over Hampstead in London Two North West.

Action from Harpenden's win over Hampstead in London Two North West. - Credit: Archant

Harpenden remain locked in a four-way battle for second place in London Two North West after beating a resilient Hampstead side 34-24 on Saturday.

With two games left, Harpenden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Chiswick and Old Haberdashers are separated by three points in their tussle for the final promotion spot.

Every game at this stage of the season is a cup final and Matt Davies’ Harpenden certainly played like it at Hampstead. Using the slope to their advantage, Harpenden sustained wave after wave on pressure only to be caught cold by a quick break and score by the hosts.

Undeterred, Harpenden went back to work and were reward when Tristan Francis crashed over the line following a dominant scrum and quick hands and feet from scrum-half John Collins.

The second followed soon after as Collins sent captain Michael Goode, who had a try scratched off earlier in the game, over before a quick interchange between Connor McClean and Tom Muskett released flanker Chris Wilkinson to pierce the Hampstead defence for a third try before the break.

The second half was less convincing as both teams went blow-for-blow. McLean, Tim Bitrim and Tom Rolfe combined for Yannick Green to cancel out an early Hampstead score, but the hosts replied.

McClean settled the game with a bone-rattling hit that swung the momentum firmly in Harpenden’s favour. A penalty try after McClean was dragged down by his neck was the winning score but Goode darted over late on for his second, after another Hampstead try, to seal a bonus-point win.