Bitter disappointment for Romford & Gidea Park as promotion dream dies at Harpenden
PUBLISHED: 17:49 13 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:49 13 April 2019
Romford & Gidea Park were left shellshocked as their promotion hopes were crushed by a 60-6 win for Harpenden.
The Crowlands-based rugby club had travelled to Hertfordshire with hopes of crowning a hugely-impressive campaign with promotion.
But after a bright start at Redbourn Lane their dreams unravelled quickly.
For Harpenden it laid to rest the ghost of last year’s disappointment.
Victory in their final league game last season looked to have given them a play-off place but that was cruelly ripped away from them by an administrative error.
This year there was no worries and they made sure of their elevation to the league above with a stunningly clinical performance against the Essex outfit.
In the end they bagged eight tries as they simply blow Romford away but amazingly the tries didn’t start to flow until the 34th minute.
Up until that point the game was a nervy affair with neither side taking full control.
If anything Romford were on top with their backs causing a number of difficult moments for the Harpenden defence.
The key to the victory though was the forward power of the hosts.
The opening four tries, scored in a 16-minute period either side of half-time, all came from a set-piece from five metres out.
The first was a line-out with the driving maul taking Michael Goode over the line and the rest were all from scrums that were propelled over the line.
The final two of those came with Romford down to 13-men after two yellow cards in the space of 60 seconds.
But after getting through that spell they could have dragged themselves back into it.
But first a pass inside the Harpenden 22 was intercepted and eventually turned into seven points at the other end and then a kick for the corner from a good attacking position was kicked dead.
It seemed to kill of any belief they had and even after Tagen Strydom was given a 10-minute rest for the home side, Harpenden continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Tom Sweeney, who was almost metronomic with the boot, landing seven of the eight conversions and two penalties, went over for a deserved try and Jack Pennell and Billy Sach added to a further two from Goode and one for Tom Sanders.
It could have been different had Romford taken their chances in the first period but Ben Northfield’s two penalties were all they could muster.
They will come back fighting no doubt next year but Harpenden will deservedly be focusing on some new rivals by then.
That is after one huge party of course.