Hampstead left licking their wounds as Harpenden defeat dents promotion hopes

Rob Sykes in action for Hampstead. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Rob Sykes in action for Hampstead. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

Dan Dumoline was left frustrated as injuries and a slow start left Hampstead licking their wounds in a 16-11 defeat at Harpenden.

The free-scoring centre was captain for the day but was forced off early as the two teams slugged it out in a brutal encounter.

He wasn’t the only one and by the half-hour mark Hampstead had used all three replacements.

But Dumoline said while that obviously had an effect, they need to react better to these unforeseen circumstances.

“I tried to make a tackle and had a little rip in my deltoids so couldn’t carry on unfortunately,” he said. “There was a lot of injuries early on and I don’t think that helped. We had to move a lot of people around and it became a bit frustrating.

“But then we have to deal with that. That’s the way it happened and that’s rugby.”

The loss, coupled with victories for Old Haberdashers and HAC, means Hampstead are now five points away from the second promotion spot in London North West Two.

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But it could have been different had they started the game the way they finished it.

Once Luke Barber had crossed for Harpenden’s second try Hampstead turned up the heat and mounted wave after wave of attacks.

It led to Alex Brooks going over in the corner after a swift passing phase and only stout Harpenden defence kept them out further.

Two penalties from Ed Doe cancelled out two Tom Stagg efforts but a try from Pete Sims and the one from Barber had given the hosts what turned out to be an insurmountable lead.

But Dumoline was in doubt that they could have won the game had they had a better opening hour.

He said: “Harpenden is a really hard place to come to. We’ve never won here in many years. I’ve been with the club for four years and never won here.

“We’re very similar teams, very dogged. It was just frustrating and it was close but we never turned up until the last 20 minutes and I think that was the problem.

“We just didn’t do that from the off and it took the positivity and nearly wining to turn us around and we’ve got to change that.

“We’ve got five more games which we need to win to become the best ever Hampstead team. That’s our milestone. It’s just frustrating that some of these close games [with the top teams] have probably not tipped promotion in our favour.”