Vibrant Hampstead edge Chiswick in classy win

The latest rugby news from the local scene (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

The latest rugby news from the local scene (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo) - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Hampstead showed glimpses of the form that saw them finish second last season, with a hard-fought 24-21 win on Saturday over a strong Chiswick side.

Four first half tries were enough to see off Chiswick and hand the west London side only their second defeat of the season.

Defeat saw Chiswick drop a place to third in the league while the try bonus point win consolidated Hampstead in sixth spot ahead of this Saturday’s derby against runaway league leaders Belsize Park.

Chiswick had taken an early lead in the game, pinning Hampstead back in their 22m zone before a period of sustained pressure saw the visitors go over for the first score of the game.

Hampstead hit back soon after to make it 5-7, with wing Alex Brooks going over.

Minutes later Brooks, captain in the absence of the injured Max Moncrieff, was on the scoreboard again, displaying deft footballing skills to kick through and score.

Craig Harper added the extras to give Hampstead a 12-7 lead.

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Within 10 minutes the home side had increased their advantage.

A long-range penalty kick to touch by Harper took Hampstead to within spitting distance of Chiswick’s try line.

From the resulting lineout and rolling maul Greg Sturge spotted down for another five points.

Chiswick, frustrated by stout Hampstead defending all afternoon, responded with a neat break in midfield finished by strong support play on the wing, magnificently converted by their number 10.

Hampstead’s final score of the day began when wing Ajayi Olufemi kicked through and chased, forcing the opposition to guide the ball out just five metres from the try line.

A knock-on by Chiswick handed the initiative to Hampstead at the resultant scrum, and centre Pete Bicknell ran an exquisite line to touch down near the posts and give Harper an easy conversion.

The homeside turned around ahead 24-14 and only some stout Hampstead defence and wayward kicking from the visitors prevented Chiswick from narrowing the deficit early in the second half.

However, after a sustained period in the Hampstead 22m, Chiswick eventually found a way through, touching down to the left of the uprights and taking the extras to make it a three point game.

In the final minutes of the game, Chiswick fumbles and disciplined home defence allowed Hampstead to close out the game for their first win over a promotion-chasing side this season.