Hampstead bag third straight win
HAMPSTEAD made the perfect start to the year when they came from behind to win their London 2 North West match 20-13 at London New Zealand on Saturday.
The victory continued Hampstead’s good form of late and they are now unbeaten in their last three games, following their 24-13 win over Chiswick and 34-3 defeat of Grasshoppers before the Christmas break.
The victory delighted coach Ali Halsall, who is eager to continue the momentum.
“London NZ made life difficult for us in the first half, but as the game went on we showed confidence to attack from broken play and that made the difference,” Halsall said.
“It was a physical game but it woke the players up a bit after the Christmas break.
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“We now need to hit the training pitch to raise our performance to its usual high standard.”
The Kiwis slotted a penalty to take an early lead, and extended their advantage, despite Hampstead enjoying superior possession and dictating play.
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With Hampstead dominating the scrum, but struggling in the lineouts, London New Zealand intercepted a pass from centre Dai Jenkins whose opposite number ran the length of the field to score.
The successful conversion increased their lead to 10 points, but Hampstead refused to go down without a fight and began to win more of the ball.
With two minutes of the first half remaining Hampstead won a lineout and charged forward.
The ball was passed to winger Kenny Loakman, who beat his opposite number, before whipping it out to Pete Evans, who popped up to secure the ball and crash over for a try that he converted himself.
The score remained 10-7 at the break, but Hampstead were rocked moments after the restart when the Kiwis slotted a penalty to extend their lead.
Yet Hampstead weren’t about to roll over and Evans slotted a penalty to immediately reduce the three-point deficit.
Hampstead continued to pressure the home side, and were rewarded minutes later when a poor kick from the Kiwis’ 22 was intercepted by winger Clark who crossed the line for a 15-13 lead.
The match remained in the balance after the conversion was missed, but Evans settled the visitors’ nerves when he touched down for a try in the closing minutes which went unconverted.
Hampstead welcome league leaders Hammersmith & Fulham on Saturday.