Belsize Park invest in coaching to maintain progress throughout the club

Belsize Park's new captain George Hazlett. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Belsize Park's new captain George Hazlett. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

Belsize Park’s director of rugby Zach Webb hopes the professional quality of coaching at Belsize Park will help to maintain the progress throughout the club.

BP’s first team narrowly missed out on a second promotion last term, finishing third in London North-West Division Three on the same number of points as Welwyn, who went up in second place.

Meanwhile, the second, third and fourth teams all won their respective leagues to move up a tier – and the strength in depth is only improving, as is the quality of the coaching.

“We’ve had 94 new recruits this summer and had 211 over the course of last year so we’re becoming a very sizeable club,” Webb told Ham&High Sport. “We’ve brought in several professional coaches to help us in our preparations for the season and paying, which we have never done before, for coaches – not for players, we’re obviously strictly amateur still.

“We’re taking a new step in terms of our overall preparation and the quality of players around our training.

“We’ve had several RFU-affiliated coaches and some ex-professional players coming down and helping us, so it’s an exciting season ahead. I think we’ll do well.

“We’ll be putting out our five teams again and the veterans side, and Regents Park Royals - our affiliated minis club - are up to over 200 children now, having started with about 30 about three years ago.”

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Webb added: “I think the first team have got a very good chance of promotion this year and that’s what we’ll be targeting. We’ve already proved that we can cement ourselves in London Three last season, which was our goal, and we surpassed that and had a chance of promotion, so this year we’re targeting promotion again.

“We played our first two pre-season games last weekend. We played Old Alleynians, who are in London Two, and we beat them 32-26 - and our twos beat their twos as well.”

Kiwi second row George Hazlett has taken over the captaincy from Tom House, who retired at the end of last season.

Webb said: “We’ve probably gained an inch in the second row from Tom to George. He’s a monster of a man, a great bloke, good fun, but he takes it very seriously on the pitch, knows his rugby and he’s incredibly dedicated so he was a shoo-in for the job.”

Meanwhile, Hampstead start their London North-West Division Two campaign away against Enfield Ignatians on Saturday.