Belsize Park set a new club record with 11th consecutive victory
13:17 21 January 2014
Belsize Park’s first game of 2014 produced an 11th straight victory, setting a new club record for the first XV, as they beat Barnet Elizabethans 19-5 in Herts/Middlesex Division One.
Although BP were due to be playing the fixture at home in Regent’s Park, the game was moved to Chiswick Rugby Club due to waterlogged pitches – and tries from Charlie Oakes, Corey Nash and Guy Parker plus two Richard Wilson conversions maintained their place at the top of the league.
Captain Tom House said: “It was wonderful to finally get some rugby in after a month of fantasising about it – and it was great to get that record win too!
“We’re very happy that our back three haven’t lost any of their killer instinct, and two classic backs tries on a muddy paddock is no mean feat.”
The conditions meant that both sides were forced to play attritional and conservative rugby, and Barnet looked to dominate the Belsize pack with a strong scrum and a well- drilled line-out.
However, BP held their own and showed glimpses of the attacking flair that has seen them top the league for most of the campaign.
They got the breakthrough after 15 minutes after a bullocking charge from man of the match Adam Caines, who played like a man possessed - and quick ball then allowed Nathan Lad to feed Oakes, who ran in from 15 yards.
Wilson narrowly missed the kick from the corner narrowly, and Belsize took a 5-0 lead into the interval.
The second half saw the fit-again George Hazlett adding some bulk in to the second row, while Adam French returned to the front row.
The second try came after a lovely line break from Wilson, who popped the ball out of the tackle to winger Ben Parker, and he found his stepfather Guy Parker, who sent Nash over the line from 20 yards out.
Barnet hit back with a touchdown of their own after a series of strong line-out drives, but BP reasserted their dominance with as third try as Guy Parker received the ball from Oakes and crossed the whitewash, with Wilson notching his second conversion.
That left BP pushing for a fourth try and a bonus point, despite having lost French to the sin-bin.
A high tackle on the pugnacious Ollie Budd saw both sides down to 14 men, but Belsize were unable to muster one last score.
House added: “Our defence really allowed us to control the game and Charlie Oakes didn’t allow the Barnet backs to get going at all.
“There’s plenty to work on this week going into a tough game against the muscular pack of Cheshunt – hopefully in Regent’s Park – on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, BP’s second XV are now fourth in their division after beating league leaders HAC 19-14.
Rob Mazur scored the opening try, but HAC hit back with a converted scored of their own to take a 7-5 lead into the break.
Belsize’s pack started to get on top after the interval, aided by strong carrying from Greg Simkins and David Brown, while Brad Stuart excelled in the backs – and sustained pressure led to tries from Julian Hofflein and Simkins.
HAC got a late score to close the gap to five points, but BP withheld some late pressure from HAC to seal a fantastic victory.