Harps on fire to clinch best win of season

Enfield Ignatians 7 Harpenden 61

London 2NW 9 Feb 2019

Harpenden romped to their best win of the season by thrashing struggling Enfield Ignatians in a nine-try rout. In notching up their third successive half century of points they also emphatically laid to rest a bogey at a ground where they had not won since 2007. The victory means that they remain in second place in London Two North West but, with league leaders Belsize Park not having at fixture at the weekend, they have closed to within one point of the Londoners who now have a game in hand.

Skipper Oli Lacey said: “Enfield is always a tough place to come and it’s been a banana skin for us in recent years so I am really happy with the win. It’s testament to our effort and all the training we’ve been putting in. Next up is Chiswick this Saturday which is another five points on offer.” Using the slope and the strong wind to the maximum advantage, Harps went ahead as early as the fourth minute when inside centre Tom Sweeney touched down in the left corner and seven minutes later tight-head prop George Rolfe scrambled over for a try (converted by Sweeney).

Despite losing flanker Jeremy Walmsley with a suspected broken left wrist on 21 minutes, Harps continued to dominate both territory and possession – and they were duly rewarded with a third try on 26 minutes from outside centre Tagen Strydom which was converted by Sweeney. Shortly before the break full-back Will Hales secured the try bonus point with Harps’ fourth try following some excellent work by number eight Michael Goode, whose powerful runs constantly had the Londoners under pressure. Sweeney again added the extra points.

Replacement flanker Ed Preston marked his return from a working holiday in Australia with a try on 47 minutes (converted by Sweeney) before Strydom got his second try of the day on 60 minutes following a scorching run by Nick Childs (on as a replacement for Sweeney). Stand-off Ollie Mann added the extra points. Almost immediately hooker Jack Murphy touched down under the posts for Harps’ seventh try (converted by Mann) before Mann, who put in another outstanding display, got in on the act with a try of his own which he then converted.

With three minutes to go Hales got a second try (converted by Mann). The north Londoners continued to fight hard and were duly rewarded with a try by Dom Nott shortly before the final whistle but it was of scant consolation as the defeat leaves them rooted at the foot of the table.

Harpenden: Hales, Pennell, Strydom, Sweeney, Sach; Mann, Gulliford; McLoughlin, Murphy, G Rolfe, T Rolfe, Lacey, Sanders, Walmsley, Goode. Replacements: Childs, Preston, Staff.