Harpenden overcame the worst Storm Dennis could throw at them to notch up a try bonus point win against bottom club Ruislip. The victory, their 13th of the campaign, leaves them in fourth place in London One North, just four points behind second-placed Old Haberdashers.
Although playing against the wind in the first half, Harps were the first to score when, following a strong scrum which put Ruislip under pressure, the ball reached outside centre Jimmy Speirs who broke through for a try, which was converted by stand-off Declan Raubenheimer. The lead did not last long as Ruislip attacked and found an overlap on the right to score a converted try.
The home side built on that with another converted try following a period of pressure when their stocky forwards exploited the desperate conditions to pick and drive. However, Harps also put together a pick and drive sequence which Speirs again finished off. On this occasion the kick missed in the difficult conditions, leaving the score at 14-12 at half time. Shortly after the restart, Speirs made a break and got the ball away to flanker Bobby Tane, who made good ground before releasing inside centre Matt Deane to race away on the right and touch down, but again the conversion attempt was wide of the posts.
Harps stretched their slender lead when, following good forwards, they got the ball out to Deane on the left, for him to run in the try, which Raubenheimer converted. Ruislip came back again with another series of pick and drive phases which led to their third try, and although they could not convert it, they were still within one score of Harps.
However, the last word belonged to Harps when following a kick ahead down the left wing, Raubenheimer reached the ball first to touch down and seal the match, although he could not add the two extra points.
Harps captain Ollie Lacey said: “It was a difficult game with conditions that made it tough to play our usual expansive style. We are pleased to have fought through it to get the win and the five points, and we have to give credit to Ruislip for making a really good game of it.”
Harps’ next game is home to Woodford on Saturday. Kick-off 3:00pm.
Harpenden: McClean, Baggio, Speirs, Deane, James; Raubenheimer, Gulliford; Mahmood, Sims, Campion, Rolfe, Gue, Preston, Tane, Jillians. Replacements: Lacey, McLoughlin, Sach.