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London 1N 29 Feb 2020

Harps go down to five-try defeat at league leaders

North Walsham 33 Harpenden 3

Harpendenís dream of completing a double over runaway London One North league leaders North Walsham ended in a five-try defeat. They remain though in fourth place, five points below second-placed Colchester who moved into the play-off spot with a 27-25 win over Old Haberdashers played at Redbourn Lane.

Harps went behind as early as the fifth minute when the Norfolk side found a gap through the middle to score under the posts. Harps stand-off Declan Raubenheimer then landed a penalty, which proved to be the only score which they would register.

After 20 minutes Harps lock Tom Rolfe had to come off with a leg injury. Ed Preston moved into the second row and was replaced at number eight by Michael Goode. North Walsham made another break down the middle, with scrum-half Jake Duffield touching down.

Towards the end of the half they broke again, this time on the left side and scored through stand-off Matthew Hodgson. Harps had a better start to the second half, but could not create sufficient, consistent pressure to get over the line.

Hodgson killed any hopes of a comeback, touching down following another clean break, bringing North Walsham their try bonus point. All four tries were converted. Goode received a yellow card whilst attempting to disrupt a driving maul close to Harpsí line and although they coped well with 14 men, North Walsham ran in a fifth try down the right wing.

On this occasion the conversion missed.

Harpsí next game is home to Chingford on 21 March.

Harpenden: McClean, Baggio, Speirs, Deane, Hague-Blundy; Raubenheimer, Wilkinson; Mahmood, McLoughlin, Campion, Rolfe, Lacey, Jillians, Tane, Preston. Replacements: Goode, Govier, Simcott.