Belsize Park captain warns: We can still improve
PUBLISHED: 11:07 28 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:07 28 January 2014
Belsize Park captain Tom House has warned his rivals that the league leaders can still improve, despite the fact that they have now won their last 12 games in a row in Herts/Middlesex Division One.
BP played their first home game of 2014 on Saturday, and tries from Ollie Budd, Nick Lewis, Mark Liebling and Corey Nash secured a 20-7 victory in Regents Park.
With second-placed Kilburn Cosmos losing away at third-placed Hackney, Belsize are now six points clear at the top – and the top two teams are usually promoted - but House says nothing can be taken for granted.
“We are looking forward to the rearranged fixture against Bank of England on Saturday as we feel we still have some way to go until we are playing for a full 80 minutes,” said the skipper.
“We have very high standards and the competition for jerseys is fierce at the moment, which is very healthy and brings out the best in us as individuals.
“It was great that Hackney beat Kilburn at the weekend, but they themselves are on a roll now, and they have games in hand.
“We need to ensure we keep focused on winning - and with bonus points - but no-one will lie down and give them to us as we are the team to beat, and have been since October.”
Belsize Park got off to a blistering start against Cheshunt, and their muscular forward drives and very high tempo made for entertaining rugby, while the offload game came into hits own.
Dynamic running from the tight five produced the first try after 10 minutes as Budd was driven over from close range, while Cheshunt struggled to get into the first half an hour of the match, with their line-out letting them down in particular.
Belsize were hungry for tries and bullocking runs from Lewis saw him cross the whitewash, ably assisted over the final few inches by the industrious tighthead Adam French.
Quick hands then gave Liebling an opening, and he ran 30 yards while beating two men to score a screaming try in the corner.
The touchdown of the day – and possibly the season so far – was still to come though, as the ‘Newcastle Night Train’ Nash tore it in from the halfway line, stepping past half of the visiting team and breaking tackles as he went.
Richard Wilson missed all four conversions into the stiff breeze, while Cheshunt scored just before half-time after a missed tackle – but the damage was done.
The second period was a scoreless and ill-tempered affair with Arnaud Couffin and Adam French both receiving yellow cards.
Man of the match George Hazlett and the irrepressible Zach Webb continued to drive forward, but Belsize were unable to convert any of their chances and the half was a purely attritional affair.