Luton close the gap with a crushing win at Harborough

Oti Pifeleti in action for - pic: Ian NancollasOti Pifeleti in action for - pic: Ian Nancollas
Oti Pifeleti in action for - pic: Ian Nancollas
Luton moved to within one point of second placed Market Harborough after beating Stamford 60-12 in Midlands Two East South on Saturday.

Oti Pifeleti picked up a hat-trick of tries, making it nine in his first five games as a Luton player, Ryan Sheppard got two scores, while there was a try apiece for David Hamm, Tom Mahendren, Matt Yang, Martin O’Grady and Brogan McKeown.

Fly half Hamm opened the scoring early for the visitors as he received the ball from scrum half Dave Evans and squeezed his way in-between two Stamford players, to reach the line.

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Rik Hobbs converted well to make it 7-0, while Pifeleti extended the visitors lead after some quick passing resulted in Hobbs breaking down the wing, he offloaded for Pifeleti to dive over.

Stamford, who started the match with 14 men, managed to get a try back as they trailed 12-5, but Yang scored almost immediately, crashing over from Hamm’s pass.

Hobbs added the extras and did so again when Pifeleti got Luton’s fourth try, securing the bonus point too.

Luton added another score quickly after as Hobbs played a short pass to O’Grady just inside the 22 and the winger smashed over the whitewash.

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Mahendren got Luton’s sixth try of the half as he received the ball on the 22 after some good, quick passing play to touch down in the corner.

Hobbs’ conversion fell short and Luton led 36-5 at the break.

In the second period, Sheppard, the replacement hooker, was found in the open by Tom Garner, and he had no problems diving over, Hamm’s extras flying well wide.

Flanker Adam Harris took over at scrum half due to a series of injuries, finding Pifeleti, who was to prove unstoppable on his drive to the line, Hamm converting.

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Minutes later, Hamm went on another good run breaking through the Stamford line, offloading to McKeown and the lock put the ball down for Luton’s eighth try of the afternoon.

Stamford got a consolation try as Hamm knocked on and although their number eight was tackled by O’Grady, he managed to get up and carry the ball over the line, the conversion making it 53-12.

Sheppard rounded off the scoring as Pifeleti closed down a kick before throwing it back to Denzel Edwards.

He passed inside Stephen Cobb, who played it once more to Sheppard and he crashed over past two Stamford players.

Hamm converted to make it 60-12, completing a comfortable away victory.

Luton have a rest week this weekend before travelling to mid-table Market Bosworth the following Saturday.