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Hampstead Ladies have heads held high after first Plate final

Therew was joy and tears for Hampstead ladies as they contested the final of the Women's Intermediate Plate for the first time but suffered a brave defeat. Pics: Paolo Minoli Therew was joy and tears for Hampstead ladies as they contested the final of the Women's Intermediate Plate for the first time but suffered a brave defeat. Pics: Paolo Minoli

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
4:22 PM

Hampstead Ladies contested the Intermediate Plate final for the first time on Saturday as they took on Midlands outfit West Bridgford in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

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The Hampstead Ladies team show off their runners-up medals. Pics: Paolo MinoliThe Hampstead Ladies team show off their runners-up medals. Pics: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead were up against unknown opposition who play in a higher league – Championship North Division One – and they proved to be too tough as West Bridgford triumphed 40-7.

However, the north Londoners put in a spirited display, with Rosie Hunt touching down in the second half and Fran Hall converting.

Hampstead’s Kella Kapnisi said: “Unfortunately we lost, but we still got some second-place silverware.

“We played really well and did ourselves proud. I think we all saw that in a year’s time we can certainly be capable of competing in a league of that level.”

Rosie Hunt touched down for Hampstead. Pic: Paolo MinoliRosie Hunt touched down for Hampstead. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead, who finished third in Championship South East Division Two this season after a strong promotion bid, were on the attack from the start on Saturday.

However, West Bridgford had a couple of larger runners who were able to bash through the middle of the pitch and establish a half-time lead.

After a rousing team talk, Hampstead’s pack were far more aggressive in the second period, making a significant impact and eventually driving over the line, with Hunt touching down and Hall adding the extras.

Hampstead continued to attack with intent, but a couple of lucky breaks allowed West Bridgford to score two more tries down the wings and eliminate any chance of a comeback.

Niki Fitzgerald on the attackNiki Fitzgerald on the attack

Hampstead Ladies’ second team still have one league game to play and the title is still up for grabs, but they are outsiders and will probably have to wait until next season to bid for promotion again – along with the first team.

Hampstead’s men’s team visit St Albans on Saturday before finishing their London North-West Division Two campaign at home against Chiswick on April 12.

Hampstead’s Ladies still have plenty to look forward to during the summer, though, with sevens tournaments and a tour to Dendermonde, Belgium at the beginning of June.

There are also plans to host a tournament day on Hampstead Heath on April 26, involving all of the London university teams as well as other university teams from around the country.

Hampstead Rugby Club will be running an informal, mixed touch rugby league on the heath, near Parliament Hill athletics track, on Wednesdays from 7pm, starting on June 5.

In the meantime, social events include the end of season ball on May 10 when the club hand out awards and recognise the hard work that has gone into the campaign.

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