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Harpenden battle to Hampstead draw
12:10pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in Local Sport
Harpenden RFC ended a run of back-to-back losses with a hard-fought 25-25 draw against lowly Hampstead.
At one stage in the first half, with two good tries under their belts, they had looked on course for a comfortable victory.
But a combination of injuries, which resulted in scrums going uncontested as early as the first half, and a strong fightback by their hosts saw Harp’s early lead evaporate shortly after half-time.
And although Harpenden were in front again with five minutes to go, Hampstead managed to clinch a draw, which, on the balance of play, was probably the right result.
Head coach Matt Davies said: “We showed at times what a good side we are and I can’t praise everyone enough for their unbelievable effort and physicality.
“What we need, though, is more consistency as we sometimes let ourselves down with the last pass and our decision-making. However, we are getting better as a side and as long as we learn from this, we shall continue to progress.”
Despite going 3-0 down to a penalty after just three minutes, Harps quickly got into their stride.
Yannick Green replied with a penalty and two minutes later left-wing Adam Stirling crashed over for a fine coverted try after full-back Simon Payne had launched a daring counter-attack deep inside Harps’ half.
Hampstead quickly clawed back three points with another penalty before powerful flanker Michael Goode dived over for a try in the left-hand corner to extend Harps’ lead to 15-6. But Hampstead then showed they should not be underestimated with a converted try under the posts which narrowed the difference to just two points.
Hampstead took the lead again with a penalty and, after Stirling had been yellow-carded, they increased it on 55 minutes with another three points. Although Green then added a penalty, Hampstead restored the difference three minutes later with a fifth successful penalty attempt.
Harps came storming back and were justly rewarded with a beautifully taken try by stand-off Charlie Howard, which Green converted to give them a 25-22 advantage.
But they were then dealt a blow on 75 minutes when livewire scrum-half John Collins was sent to the sin bin for the remainder of the game and from the resulting penalty Hampstead secured a draw.
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