Harps back in the winning groove

Shelford 15 Harpenden 17

London 1N 18 Jan 2020

Two weeks ago Harpenden arguably should have won their game against Sudbury but gave away a try at the very end to lose by two points. Last week it looked as if this might be repeated but a Shelford penalty in the final minutes bounced back off the posts and they held on to win by two points. The victory, which saw them complete a double over the Cambridgeshire club, keeps them in seventh place in London One North. The first 15 minutes were difficult for Harps, with the referee awarding a series of penalties against them allowing Shelford to exert a lot of pressure. During this period Shelford took two shots at goal, having missed the first, only had three points to show from their attacks.

Then in one of their first visit to the opposition half, Harps were awarded a penalty themselves and kicked to touch. They set up a driving maul from the lineout and open-side flanker Matt Jillians touched down. Unfortunately, right wing Matt Deane, deputising for regular kicker Tom Sweeney, was unable to add the two points. Shortly afterwards Harps were reduced to 14 men when tighthead prop Ben Campion was yellow carded for an offence at the breakdown. It was not a particularly serious incident, but the referee apparently felt he had to make an example of someone due to the high number of penalties which he had awarded against Harps. Shelford duly took advantage running in a try to the left of the posts but failed to convert.

Having been restored to 15 men, centre Bobby Tane made a great break only to be hauled down just short of the line. However, the ball was recycled and quickly moved along the backline for Matt Deane to go over in the corner. He converted his own try to give Harps an 12-8 lead.

The game continued to ebb and flow until Shelford had one of their props yellow carded and this time Harps took advantage, kicking a penalty to touch and again mounting a successful maul from the lineout. This time second row Tom Rolfe claimed the try, which was not converted. However, Shelford came back again scoring a converted try when their replacement prop Owen Miller rolled off a maul and got over the line, but that was the end of the scoring and Harps were happy to hear the final whistle not long after.

Harps travel to Amersham and Chiltern this Saturday.

Harpenden: Simcott, Deane, Tane, McClean, Wilkinson; Hutchins, Gulliford; Mahmood, McSporran, Campion, Rolfe, Lacey, Gue, Jillians, Goode. Replacements: Govier, Hague-Blundy, Preston.