Watford moved level on points with second-placed Mill Hill after an emphatic 64-3 bonus-point victory at home to Pinner in Herts Middlesex Three.
The hosts knew that to maintain any hope of topping the league they would need to record a winning bonus-point and they started far the stronger of the two sides.
Whilst the scrum was steady if not spectacular against a large Pinner pack, the lineout was a constant source of clean possession which allowed half backs Tom McGee and Ollie Hopkins to direct traffic at a breakneck pace.
With ten minutes on the clock, Watford’s pressure told as Richard Yates continued his excellent form by stepping off his wing and using his pace to score under the posts. McGee added the extras to put Watford 7-0 up.
This was soon followed by a score for Martin Lee, who broke through two tackles 40m out before crossing the line.
Determined not to be outdone by his brother, Andy Lee scored his first of the game with a typically powerful run through the midfield.
Whilst Watford’s pack usually gets the plaudits, the backline has been in fine form since Christmas and it was due to their work that the bonus-point was secured before half-time.
Excellent hands put Paul Dunlop through but he was caught just short of the line. The ball was recycled and with Joel Gilmore being held up on the line, flanker Greg Reeve was on hand to pick up and score from close range.
After an extended period of pressure, the visitors earned a penalty in front of the posts which made the score 24-3 at the break.
In such a tight league, points difference is going to be crucial come the end of the season and with this in mind Watford continued to attack. Richard Yates scored a well-worked second, before Ian Butcher registered his first of the afternoon after being put through by Andy Lee who then scored his second immediately from the restart. A fine lung bursting run from long range was finished under the sticks bringing another seven points.
JR Greyling made a typically pacy run wide on the left before releasing Butcher to score his second, followed by a first score for the returning James Powell after fine work from flanker Luke Hammill. Captain Martin Lee completed the scoring, adding his second in the corner after a well-worked lineout move.
The win means Watford have not lost at home in the league for over a year and this season are scoring an average of 60 points at Radlett Road. With three games left, they are just three points behind leaders London French.