Harpenden edge to Beaconsfield home win

Harpenden battled to a win over Beaconsfield

Harpenden battled to a win over Beaconsfield

First published in Sport

Harpenden clinched a memorable 17-15 home win over London North West Two promotion chasers Beaconsfield on Saturday.

Ed Preston stood out as the pick of the forwards who were instrumental in securing victory.

When the two sides met last year the result was close but this time the Harpenden side were the superior team.

Several chances went begging and the result was arguably closer than it should have been.

Without their inspirational captain Adam Wheatley, who was watching from the touch-line still unable to play, Harpenden surprised their opponents by a swift attacking move straight from the kick-off.

Young Max Baggio proved too much of a handful when he burst through the line to set up right wing Ashley Smith for a perfect start in the first minute of play.

The home team nearly scored again a minute later, this time on the left side of the pitch, but a pass that should have gone to wing Adam Stirling was sent the other way and a decent opportunity was spurned.

Having established their lead, Harpenden then proceeded to give away two tries when the speed of fly-half James Caldwell and a clever chip through allowed centre Jonny Hughes to cross the line.

Although Yannick Green was able to level the scores after 20 minutes with a good penalty kick, the threat from Beaconsfield still remained, as they favoured the quick tap penalty whenever the chance was offered.

However, just before half-time, a great move involving scrum-half Charlie Howard, fly-half Tom Stagg and centre Nick Childs gave Green the chance to run in powerfully, get the try and convert it himself. That brought the score at the break to 17-10 in Harpenden’s favour.

The second half started as a fast and furious affair with both sets of forwards stepping up the pace.

It would be hard to name too many individuals other than Preston who performed well on the day but the front row of Aaron Ledwidge; Pete Sims; and, Sean Mcloughlin were steady and reliable as was Zak Kent at lock.

At one stage an eight-man shove proved too much for the visitors who were sent reeling backwards much to the surprise of their coach.

It wasn’t until the final ten minutes that Harpenden were threatened when Caldwell scored in the right-hand corner.

The crowd fell silent but the conversion missed and Harpenden held on for a significant scalp.

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