London Nigerians had the benefit of the wind and slight slope in the first half and Harpenden were under pressure from the start. They gave away a penalty in front of their posts, but had a let-off when the London Nigerian kicker amazingly pulled the kick wide of the posts. However, that relief was short-lived, with Harpenden coming under pressure again and giving away a relatively soft try, when a gap opened from a ruck; on this occasion the kick was successful.
Harpenden then started to come into the game with Adam Wilkinson running in for an unconverted try. They continued to press and back-row Ed Preston got over the line, following two good breaks by fly-half Ollie Mann, who added the conversion. Not content, London Nigerians came back crossing in the corner following a kick ahead, converting from a difficult position. Harpenden finished the half strongly with three scores - a converted try by centre Jimmy Speirs; an unconverted try by Conor McClean following a break by Tristian Francis; and, a good individual try along the wing by Speirs - leaving the half-time score at 31-14 in Harpenden's favour.
Unfortunately, Speirs had injured his knee when going for the final try of the half and was unable to continue after the break. As there were no backs on the bench, flanker George Attfield, had to fill in at centre with Jack Pennell coming on in the back- row. With about 20 minutes to go, Fred Gulliford crossed in the corner to extend Harpenden's lead by a further 5 points, before London Nigerians put in a strong performance during the last quarter of the game. This yielded a try followed by another - one of which was converted - gaining them a try-bonus point.
This win keeps the club in joint-second place and in contention with the league leaders, the difference being that compared to all clubs HRFC have the best points difference by a mile. Much of the credit is due to our coaches Matt and Jimmy, and to the director of rugby, Chris Eke, for his continued support. Rod Mcauley isn't such a bad bloke either!
Team: McLoughlin, Randall, Dimen, Kent, Lacey (C), Gue, Attfield, Preston, Moyle, Mann, Gulliford Speirs, Wilkinson, McClean Bench: Pennell, Sanders, Longden.
Harpenden's next fixture is HOME vs Harrow on 9 December kick-off 2pm (to be confirmed.)