Stockwood Park suffered a sharp reality check on Saturday when they were shown what level of league rugby to expect this season following their promotion to London Division 2 North West.
Although holding their own in the set piece forward play, including scoring two excellent forward tries, both scored by Hooker Tom Childs following strong driving mauls, Park were outplayed in the backs where Harpenden’s midfield were more creative and, despite some excellent Park defence, the home team ran with strong forward support to outscore Park by seven tries to three.
Stockwood did not help their cause by giving away too many penalties, losing out on a number of 50/50 decisions and tiring towards the end. Also losing No 8 Ben Griffin to a yellow card at a crucial stage in the first half did not help.
Park turned round 19-5 down at halftime. Tom Childs scoring the first of his two tries early on and the score remained at 7-5 for half an hour until Harpenden eased ahead with two tries close to halftime. In the second half, the home team took control although Park maintained their involvement with tries from Centre Matt Jones in support of his forwards and a second try for Childs later in the half. The team, urged on by Skipper Jamie Hoque, continued to work hard and will now seek to raise their tempo for next week.
This Saturday Park entertain Harrow, who have also lost both their opening games.