Harpenden slumped to a 36-17 defeat at Hemel Hempstead in London NW Two.

Three tries from Hemel’s wing Karl Buckingham and efforts from Tom Aitken, Ross Willoughby and Ryan Doyle were enough to put Harpenden in serious trouble at the bottom of the league.

Buckingham scored his try early on and Harpenden were on the back foot for a considerable amount of time.

Doyle then scored his try before half-time which Dobb O’Brien converted so Hemel went off at the break 12-0 ahead.

The Harpenden backs found some inspiration and managed to pass the ball down the line to right wing Adam Sterling whose electric pace was too much for the three Hemel defenders. Sterling scored in the right corner and Aaron Wilde's successful kick gave Harpenden hope.

At one stage Harpenden unexpectedly closed the gap to within two points, scoring a good try after a feint by Wilde enabled Stitch Payne to time his run to perfection, pierce the Hemel defence and sail under the posts but their fightback proved in vain.