Defeated Belsize Park start their Christmas break 80 minutes early

Seb Dunnett (centre) scored twice for Belsize Park but they were defeated. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Seb Dunnett (centre) scored twice for Belsize Park but they were defeated. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

Belsize Park were left to rue a slow start as they suffered a second defeat in three games before the festive break, going down 36-31 at Finchley in London North-West Division Three and slipping to fourth place in the table.

Finchley were lying in the bottom two before kick-off but they established a 22-0 lead in the first half.

BP fought back and two tries from Seb Dunnett and one from Miran Serderavic put them ahead – but Finchley went on to win the game and Belsize had to settle for two losing bonus points as Richard Wilson’s score gave them a fourth try and left them within five points at the end.

Finchley were quickly out of the blocks, galloping past flailing Belsize tacklers to score two early tries inside five minutes – and it got worse for the visitors later in the half as more weak defence allowed the home side’s full-back to sail through under the posts and extend the lead to 22-0.

This finally got alarm bells ringing and Belsize hit back just before half-time, with Fred House and Adam French making hard yards and fly-half Wilson feeding the ball wide to substitute Dunnett, who went in under the sticks for a try that was converted by Wilson.

BP took control of the game after the break and good work up front produced an overlap, with Serderavic going over for another converted score.

Hard running from the back three of Ben Parker, Tristan Smith and Nick Lewis then put centre James Sale into space, and he fed the ball back inside to give Dunnett his second score and put Belsize 21-20 ahead.

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However, a lucky bounce gifted Finchley another breakaway score soon afterwards, giving them a 27-21 lead with 10 minutes to play. And, although Wilson added a fourth try for the visitors, Finchley also got another score to emerge triumphant.

Belsize captain Tom House said: “Although it was a profoundly disappointing result on Saturday, we played phases that reminded us what we can achieve when we turn up.

“In the first half a complete lack of defensive commitment cost us dearly. The result goes to reinforce what we have said all along – that there are no bad teams in this league and home advantage makes a huge difference.

“After Christmas we return to action against Welwyn in Regent’s Park, and we owe them a performance after the fiasco at their place [a 35-30 defeat in September].

“We haven’t lost in Regent’s Park in 14 months and I know the boys will be desperate to bounce back from this poor showing.

“We believe we can still finish in the top two, although we know that means working extra hard over the festive period and into the newyear to ensure there are no more slip-ups.”

Elsewhere in the division, a makeshift UCS Old Boys side suffered a 60-0 home defeat against Fullerians. In London North-West Division Two, Hampstead went down 71-19 at home against Old Haberdashers.