Belsize Park are made to work for victory over basement boys Old Streetonians
- Credit: Archant
Belsize Park were made to work for their 37-31 victory away against basement Boys Old Streetonians, but six tries ensured they secured a fourth successive victory and held on to second spot in London North-West Division Three.
Old Street had lost 14 of their 15 league games prior to kick-off, but they made a flying start.
Belsize prop Adam French was sin-binned in the opening minutes for failing to retreat at a penalty and flattening the home side’s scrum-half, and the hosts took advantage of underpowered BP pack to push their way over from the resulting five-metre scrum.
Old Street were soon on the attack again, with their scrum-half running 40 yards to put the visitors under pressure in front of their own posts again.
However, promotion hopefuls Belsize hit back, with Richard Wilson bravely charging down a clearance kick and Ben Parker crossing the line.
Belsize scored again from the restart, with George Hazlett taking the ball and bouncing off a number of forwards before handing it to Danny Steadman, who offloaded to Nick Lewis – and he touched down in his return to the side.
A slick line-out move, involving quick hands from Steadman and Rich Turner, then put Jeremy Burton over in the corner – and Rob Hooper showed his pace to finish off a break from James Sale.
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By half-time Belsize had the lead they had expected before the match, but a poor start to the second half undermined their effort, and Fred House – who had enjoyed a strong first half with some shuddering tackles – limped off with an injured knee, being replaced by Seb Dunnett.
The visitors recovered from their setbacks, though, and Hazlett drew his man before passing to man of the match Miran Serdarevic, who capped an outstanding performance by running in a try from 30 metres out with three men hanging off him.
More was to follow as Hazlett embarked on a fine run before being pulled down just short of the line, and Turner dived over to score.
By now Belsize were out of sight and they eased off, allowing Old Street to score two more easy tries, narrowing the gap to six points at the end and gifting them a bonus point for their try count.
Belsize captain Tom Hous said: “Credit to Old Streetonians, I think they took us by surprise. We weren’t expecting them to be as hungry and committed as they were and in the end it was close.
“We now move forward and start planning for our next game in two week’ time, when Datchworth come to visit us. That is a big one as they will really fancy it after we lost up there [in November]. We haven’t lost in Regent’s Park since September 2013 so it really has become a fortress.”
Belsize Park completed a clean sweep at the weekend as their second team, fourth string, Bulls side and veterans outfit all emerged triumphant as well.
The fourth XV’s 17-15 victory ensured their promotion with three games still to go - a significant achievement given that this is their first year of league rugby, with talismanic captain Colum Harkin deserving much of the credit.