A magnificent seven for Belsize Park - but there’s no change at the top
- Credit: Archant
Belsize Park scored seven tries to produce their sixth successive victory since the turn of the year, beating Hitchin 51-15, but there was no change in the London North-West Division Three promotion race with four games to go.
Chris Dan, Miran Serdarevic and Nick Lewis all touched down twice, while man of the match Nathan Ladd also crossed the line and Jeremy Burton kicked 16 points in a comprehensive away win.
However, with leaders Fullerians beating Old Streetonians 85-5 and third-placed Welwyn triumphing 50-25 against Finchley, second-placed Belsize were unable to close the gap at the top or move away from their nearest pursuers – and captain Tom House wants his side to be even more ruthless in their final matches.
“The boys were great against a team that was full of spirit and very good at getting over the ball at the breakdown,” said the skipper.
“We know we have plenty to work on at training on Wednesday if we want to win our remaining four games. We shouldn’t have leaked the two tries in the second half so we will be determined to show that we can be ruthless and clinical at Wasps next weekend.
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“The other results mean nothing changes in the league standings so any slip from the top three could be fatal.”
Belsize came flying out of the traps at their home in Regent’s Park on Saturday and returning Aussie hardman Dan was the first to score, capitalising on some hard work from the industrious forwards.
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Burton slotted a penalty kick between the sticks, and Dan then put Serdarevic into space for the first of his two tries.
The set piece was messy from both sides, a muddy pitch and the swirling wind conspiring against both scrum and line-out, but half- backs Ladd and Rob Hooper coped well in often trying circumstances.
Ollie Barcock embarked on a bullocking run and, as the Hitchin defence was realigning, the mercurial Ladd scampered around the base of the ruck to dot down and give Belsize a 20-3 half-time lead.
The visitors’ penalty count increased after the interval as the home side increased the pressure, and Burton added another three points with the boot before Dan set up another try for the prolific Serdaeric – his eighth in 2015.
Lewis then took advantage of a Hitchin handling error, sweeping the ball up and galloping clear to score.
Belsize introduced their replacements and they made an immediate impact. Alex Baboolal showed great hands and Howard Pauling put Burton into space before John Corellis broke away.
When Hitchin were penalised for not rolling away, House took a quick penalty on the five-metre line, held the ball up and recycled it quickly. George Hazlett then threw a miss pass to Dan, who dummied and went over from close range.
The final try came from Lewis, who took advantage of a hue overlap to finish in the corner for his second try, while Burton added the extras, having kicked five of his seven conversions and two of his three penalties.
Meanwhile, UCS Old Boys remain in the bottom two, four points adrift of safety, after a 55-5 home defeat at Stevenage Town. They face a huge home game against basement boys Old Streetonians on Saturday.