This was a match when Harpenden ran in more tries than Moeen Ali scored sixes in the last ODI Test against the Windies. So it was a good job that one of our regular supporters was visiting the West Country last Saturday as he always has difficulty at the weekend counting beyond the figure ten.
Six tries in the first half and six in the second to Harpenden; three tries and one try was the reply from the home team. Ollie Mann, the reliable fly-half of HRFC , converted eight in total - four in each half. This win can be regarded as a very good performance despite the fact that HAC were a bit short of their normal manpower; played on an all-weather pitch the conditions were near ideal for running rugby which suited our silky runners - including George Rolfe.
In the last century fifty years ago, seventy six was usually associated with trombones; and, seven and six old money (now, thirty seven and a half pence) would buy you 15 litres of petrol. Times have changed and Harpenden's recent thought processes seem to be following along the same footpath.
A fumble by Harpenden at the kick-off enabled the HAC pack to drive into their opponent's half with relish and immediately set up a platform for their fast-running three-quarters for a score within minutes. Bearing in mind the history between these two clubs, thoughts of a difficult time ahead for the visitors started creeping into the minds of their supporters. There was no need to worry as within the next quarter of play four tries were scored by Harpenden to establish their authority for much of the game.
However, near half-time, when leading by 38 -15, cracks started to appear in the Harpenden defence. For a while HAC took advantage of the situation and it led to their scoring tries that should not have been. It was an obvious sign that the foot had been taken off the brake. This slack approach led to HAC being awarded an important bonus point when scoring a fourth try in the second half. Harpenden's coach was understandably aggrieved at his team's apparent lack of urgency.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that, at times, the Harpenden pack totally outshone their opponents, in particular in the tight; this gave the backs plenty of opportunities to run the ball. Every one of the three-quarters played his part and it would be difficult to pick out any particular individual for praise.
For most of the time it was a good team performance. On the downside, number 8 Michael Goode, who had been carrying an injury for a while, had to be helped off the pitch with what appeared to be serious damage to his leg. Later, HAC also had their share of back luck and were briefly reduced to 13 men but they continued to run the ball despite this drawback.
At the end,the home team left the pitch in an unhappy frame of mind as did those who had arrived by UBER taxis. And, spare a thought for our President who found himself in similar mode after his beloved Newcastle lost by one goal to nil at Brighton.
Team: Sean McLoughlin, Pete Simms, George Rolfe, Tom Rolfe, Oli Lacey, Ryan Gue, Michael Goode, George Attfield, Mark Evans, Ollie Mann, Bobby Tane, Jimmy Spiers, Adam Wilkinson, Connor McClean, Luke Barber, Subs: Alex Randall, Jack Pennell, Nick Childs.
Tries scored by Harpenden Goode ( 2) Spiers (2) Mann (1) Tane (1) Randall (1) MacClean (4) Barber (1)
Tries scored by HAC Amish, White and Toymar.
Harpenden's next fixture is at Hammersmith & Fulham this coming Saturday.