Harps pitch it up in derby battle

Harpenden 30 Letchworth 22

London 2 NW. 22 Sep 2018

Harpenden marked their first competitive match on their new all-weather pitch with a bonus point win against a decent Letchworth side. While all was not perfect, on the evidence of this performance and their win the previous week against Hemel Hempstead they can again expect to be in the London Two North West promotion mix.

Skipper Oli Lacey said: “We had some new people in today and once they get used to our system we can move up another gear. There are lots of positives to take out of the game and lots to stuff to work in our next training sessions.” After a slow start during which they went 0-3 down to a penalty kick on six minutes, Harps burst into life and took the lead on 10 minutes with a try from flanker George Attfield following a powerful rolling maul.

Four minutes later they went further ahead through a penalty try after full-back Conor McLean was tackled without ball as he looked to round off a flowing back line move. And on 20 minutes hooker Pete Sims touched down in an almost exact replica of their first try. But any thoughts of an easy win were dispelled when livewire Letchworth scrum half Chris Gibbs scored an excellent try on 30 minutes. Shortly before half time Harps debutant stand-off Will Hales kicked a penalty to give the home side a 20-10 lead which they took into the half-time break.

Harps were dealt a big blow early the second half when Sims went off with a shoulder injury which seriously disrupted their effectiveness in the line-outs, and on 50 minutes Gibbs caught them napping with his second try to take the score to 20-15. Harps were awarded a second penalty try when McLean was tackled high as he was about to finish Harps’ best move of the match. Letchworth right wing Tee Gerure then brought the visitors right back into game when he danced through Harps’ defence to score a try under the posts which was duly converted.

In a nervous final five minutes for their supporters Harps were able to stave off any further threats before Hales made the game safe in the final minute with a penalty conversion.

Harps’ next game is at home to Welwyn on Saturday. KO 3pm

Harpenden: McLean, Pennell, Sach, Childs, Gulliford; Hales, Moyle; McLoughlin, Sims, Staff, Preston, Lacey, Sanders, Attfield, Goode. Replacements: Francis, Murphy, Rolfe