21 October 2017

LONDON 2NW

TABARD 0 HARPENDEN 75

Harps scored 13 tries but converted only 5 in what turned out to be a one-sided contest. However, Tabard never seemed to give up trying which was a credit to them in the circumstances unlike some teams one comes across.

The final tally read: Luke Barber (4,) Jimmy Speirs (3,) George Attfield (2,) Conor McClean (2,) Dave 'Boy' Green & Ed Preston (1 apiece.) Conor McClean, standing in for our regular kicker, converted five. In this respect the wind may not have helped his cause.

Missing the regular successful pairing of 9 & 10 didn't seem to affect the backs' performance though from time to time there were a few wayward passes that spoilt an otherwise OK display. Luckily, as the teams ran out, the violent winds that had been forecast did not materialise though a fairly strong breeze was ever-present during the afternoon. Harpenden were also missing the excellent number 8, Michael Goode, who is still on crutches following a serious injury a fortnight ago. And, Captain Oliver Lacey was having a day off (to do his Christmas Shopping?); fortunately, Ed Preston was given a break from his combine harvester to play an important role in the forwards with his line work coming to the fore. In truth, the rest of the pack was very impressive, too.

Right from the kick-off it seemed that the Tabard pack was going to have a difficult time and so it proved to be in the long run. By the 20th minute Tabard were behind 0-22; at the end of the half they had conceded six tries, four of which came from the fast-running full-back, Luke Barber, who was an exemplar of how to stretch the line, aided by the skill of centres Jimmy Speirs (1try) and Bobby Tane. The other first-half try was George Attfield's (back row) after an impressive move begun by Barber from within the Harpenden 20 metre line.

Granted that in the second half the visitors were able to score a further seven tries from Speirs(2,) Dave Green (1,) McClean(2,) Attfield (1) and Preston (1) it could and should have been more if Harpenden want their ambition to win the league be a 'given.' Too many balls were the subject of misdirected passes and (this seems crazy to say) the foot was again taken off the pedal at important moments. In all honesty, if the execution had been 10 per cent better during these moments it would not have been surprising if the score had finished with a hundred points in Harpenden's locker.

The 1stXV now sit at the top of the table having won six games out of six, similar to the London Nigerians(LN), the comparison being that Harpenden's points difference is massive and four of their games have been played away, whilst LN have the reverse having started four games at home with the remaining two away.

Two more statistics: Harpenden's points 'For' is probably the highest in all divisions in the UK – stat courtesy of our Prez – and, for the third game in a row, we dropped the ball and knocked-on following the kick-off at the start of play. Harpenden's next game is at home against Chiswick on 28 October when there is a club lunch.

Squad

Sean McLoughlin, Pete Sims, George Rolfe, Tom Rolfe, Ed Preston, Jack Pennell, Ryan Gue, George Attfield, Fred Gulliford, Jimmy Speirs, Bobby Tane, Adam Wilkinson, Conor McClean, Luke Barber, Max Baggio, Jim Hamilton, Aaron Hughes, David Green.

For Pics see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/79423176@N04/sets/72157686420766052