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Hampstead pay the price for slow start against Beaconsfield

10:33 25 February 2014

Hampstead captain Max Rawlinson. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead captain Max Rawlinson. Pic: Paolo Minoli

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Hampstead put in their best attacking performance of the season but paid the price for an appalling start as they went down 34-24 at home against high-flying Beaconsfield.

With a number of late changes to the squad, Hampstead had the air of a team thrown together at the last moment – and they started the game playing like one.

From the kick-off, captain Max Rawlinson kicked the ball back to Beaconsfield’s No8, who ran in a try from the halfway line, beating almost every Hampstead player in the process – the visitors promptly scored another try to go 14-0 up after barely five minutes.

When Rawlinson was forced off with a shoulder injury, the home team were staring annihilation in the face. But then something magical happened - Hampstead started to play rugby, and two quick tries from the magical Ben Savigar-Jones and Pete Evans levelled the scores.

Beaconsfield hit back with a penalty and a converted try to calm the nerves, but Hampstead responded again with a brilliant backs move culminating in a try for Will Pettit, leaving them 24-19 down at the break.

The hosts started the second half on the back foot, but managed to absorb the pressure and had just gained the momentum when replacement scrum-half JD Pienaar was sin-binned.

That proved to be the turning point and Beaconsfield scored two quick tries to ensure victory - although Hampstead had the final say with a late try that earned a well-deserved bonus point.

“I’m proud of what we did and there are clear signs we’ve turned a corner,” said Rawlinson. “We’ve got three must-win games coming up now.”

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