Eton Manor made it two wins from two in London 1 North after a narrow 30-28 victory at home to Harpenden.

Cameron Dutch took a good haul of the points, notching two penalties and a conversion to Aaron Lowe’s try in the first half, then adding a seven-point score of his own, a further penalty and a second conversion, this time from Robb Falls’ try, in the second period.

Harpenden started the game but were finding it difficult to get out of their half after a powerful start from Manor, and the home side made that pressure count when Ben Bolton-Smith was penalised for a high tackle and Dutch slotted the ball between the posts from 40 yards to make it 3-0.

That seemed to kick some life into the visitors though, and after 26 minutes they started to find some gaps in the Manor defence, enough so that they turned the game around with two seven-point scores to lead 14-3.

A big response was needed from the home side and, after a good move involving Kirk Chettleburgh and Tom Christopher got the side camped in Harpenden’s half, the ball was moved along to Lowe who managed to beat a host of defenders and drive over the line, with Dutch then adding the conversion.

Dutch was at it again shortly after and closed the gap even further before the break. Bolton-Smith was guilty once again conceding a penalty, and Dutch duly obliged with the kick to make it 14-13 in the visitors’ favour.

That was how it stayed until half time, but a quick start to the second half once again put Manor back in the ascendency as Dutch added to his own personal tally with a powerful run and finish, and then an excellently-placed conversion put Manor six ahead.

Harpenden had started their season well too, however, and were continuing to run Manor close. They edged back into the lead 24 minutes into the second half when a sustained period of pressure saw them run over another seven-point try.

The topsy-turvy nature of the game came to the fore once again though, and after Manor won a penalty from a scrum, Dutch kicked in from 30 yards to restore the lead, albeit by a much narrower margin.

That gap soon had some distance to it though as Falls and Dutch rounded off their side’s scoring. Christopher won a throw which allowed Manor to set up a maul that drove 18 metres, with Falls eventually claiming the try, and the top-scoring Dutch added the crucial shot from the touchline late on.

Harpenden knew they had little time left if they were to take anything from the game and they set about pushing their hosts all the way.

It looked as though Manor were going to do enough to hold onto the nine-point lead they had, but some quick penalties allowed Harpenden to come forward and they drove over a seven-point try to put them back in contention.

Although a late scare almost gave Harpenden the win at the death, a kick from the halfway line fell well short, and Manor held on to take maximum points.

After the game, director of rugby Mark Farrell said: “We were tested today by a very useful Harpenden side, with their brand of no thrills, but effective rugby. What developed was a real arm wrestle of a game, splattered with occasional quality and sporadic poor decision making. Ultimately we had enough in the tank to take a deserved win. Lessons will certainly be taken from today’s result as this new look Manor side evolves and learns to connect as a team."

The side return to action this weekend when they visit Amersham, but face a tough proposition at a ground where they have never won a match in the league.