Harpenden's wonderful start to the season came to a juddering halt when they were beaten 25-31 at home by mid-table Chiswick. The result was no fluke though, for only during brief spells did they ever look like the team that had previously carried all before them.
However it was not all doom and gloom. For in picking a try bonus point and a losing bonus point, they did in fact increase their lead at the top of London Two North West as their nearest rivals, London Nigerians, were also surprisingly beaten.
Harps got off to the worst possible start when Chiswick hooker James Dibble went over a try in the opening minutes from a powerful rolling maul that drove the home forwards back a good 15 yards.
Harps centre Bobby Tane then pulled back a try
and this was quickly followed by an Ollie Mann penalty conversion. On 25 minutes flanker George Attfield touched down for a try and 36 minutes outside centre Jimmy Speirs went under the posts for Harps' third try, which was converted by Mann.
At this point it seemed to many in the crowd that 'normal service' had been restored, but although Harps started the second half well, they were making far too many mistakes for comfort. These allowed Chiswick back into the game with try from Russ Dovey and a successful penalty kick which reduced the deficit to 20-17.
Although makeshift wing Nick Childs then scored a great try for Harps, Chiswick continued to battle and deservedly clinched the game with late tries (both converted) from John Olley and Dibble, the second of which came from another unstoppable rolling maul.
Despondent Harps skipper Oli Lacey said: "Chiswick were a much better team than we anticipated and I think we took it for granted. Individually too we were not good enough. We've now got a lot of work to do in training before we travel to Hackney on Saturday."
Harpenden: Barber, Childs, Speirs, Tane, Hamilton; Mann, Gulliford; McLoughlin, Sims, G Rolfe, T Rolfe, Lacey, Gue, Attfield, Preston: Replacements: Haddock, Pennell, Randall