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Belsize Park squads have grand designs after reaching two finals

Belsize Park's third XV, 'the Bulls' Belsize Park's third XV, 'the Bulls'

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
2:18 PM

Belsize Park’s first team had a weekend off as they prepare for the climax of the epic promotion battle in Herts/Middlesex Division One.

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However, there was success for the club’s other sides as their second and third XVs won their semi-final clashes to reach the grand final in their respective merit leagues.

BP’s second string faced the top side Ruislip in a last-four elimination clash in Middlesex Merit League Division One on Saturday, and they triumphed 42-21.

Belsize couldn’t have started any better as they scored three tries in the first 15 minutes to stun the league leaders.

The simple tactic of spinning the ball wide worked effectively, and wingers Tristan Smith and Nick Lewis took full advantage to cross the whitewash.

Ruislip soon lifted their game, scoring a couple of tries of their own just before half-time - and with both sides losing a player to yellow cards, there was plenty to play for after the break.

Ruislip threw the kitchen sink at Belsize in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but resilient defence held them at bay.

BP hooker Danny Steadman then made a strong break and linked well with the backs as Chris Dan went over the try-line.

Belsize then hammered the final nail into the coffin with another break from inside their 22 and, although the speedy Nathan Ladd was tackled just sort of the line, he was able to get a great pop pass away to the supporting second row Tom Clenaghan, who touched down.

That victory set up a grand final against HAC on April 12 – and there was more good news as the third XV repeated that feat.

‘The Bulls’ hosted Chiswick’s third string in their semi-final in Middlesex Merit League Division Five, and they triumphed 38-12 in Regent’s Park.

The big match was combined with the club’s ladies/family day, and that meant the game was played in front of a crowd of over 100 people.

The Bulls played with the same champagne style of rugby that has maintained an unbeaten run all the way to the finals and produced over 100 tries this season – and they overpowered a strong Chiswick team.

Man of the match Lewis Fox-James showed the quality that is in the team by pouncing on a loose ball in the middle of the park and dazzling the opposition with some fancy footwork, throwing in a couple of sidesteps before racing to run in under the posts.

Will Hume-Humphreys also touched down, as did Ali McWilliams, David Devlin and Ben Barter – and captain Jamie Gawthrop was also on the scoresheet in a commanding triumph.

The Bulls have now reached the grand final for the second year in succession and are aiming for back-to-back championships and promotions.

They will play at London Wasps’ Twyford Avenue training ground in Ealing on April 12.

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