Harpenden kept up their championship challenge with an emphatic six try win at bottom-placed Letchworth, their second double of the season, to maintain their grip on second place in London Two North West. With league leaders Belsize Park also picking up maximum points to maintain their six point lead, the result of the clash between the two teams at Redbourn Lane on March 9 is taking on ever increasing importance.
Harps skipper Oli Lacey said: “Our target today was five points so we’re delighted with the result. At times we played really well, but there were also a few cobwebs left over from the Christmas break which meant that our finishing was not always as good as it should have been.” After a promising start Harps went ahead on three minutes when hooker Jack Murphy powered over for a try, which was duly converted by Tom Sweeney. But despite then enjoying most of the possession for the next 20 minutes, it was Letchworth who scored next through a try by Tatenda Gurure on 23 minutes. Harps though hit back quickly when left wing Adam Wilkinson wriggled over for a try (converted by Sweeney) on 27 minutes, and on 37 minutes flanker Jeremy Walmsley added a third.
Harps really then should have scored a fourth before the break but somehow managed to squander three excellent chances. The early period of the second half was a much closer affair as Letchworth rallied well and they were duly rewarded with a fine try by inside centre Josh Parkhouse on 45 minutes. Harpenden tried hard to hit back quickly but strong defence by Letchworth kept them at bay until the 63rd minute when Wilkinson, now playing as scrum-half in place of the injured Fred Gulliford, scored his second try of the day.
Seven minutes later Walmsley brought up his brace with a try near the posts following a powerful run by right wing Jack Pennell ripped open the home defence. Sweeney duly converted. Letchworth replied with a try by stand-off Maxime Rifaut on 77 minutes, but the last word belonged to Harpenden when number eight Michael Goode crashed over for a try in the final play of the game. Sweeney added the ‘extras’.
Harpenden travel to Welwyn on Saturday.
Harpenden: Sach, Pennell, Strydom, Sweeney, Wilkinson, Mann, Gulliford, McLoughlin, Murphy, Rolfe, Kent, Lacey, Wheatley, Walmsley, Goode. Replacements: Childs, Sanders, Sims.