Hampstead secure bonus point win in Grasshoppers try-fest
- Credit: Archant
Hampstead ran in a magnificent seven tries against Grasshoppers in their first game of 2019, surviving a late scare after going down to 13 men as the hosts rallied to within seven points.
A third straight bonus-point win moved Hampstead up to fourth in London Two North West, as they continued to enjoy a rich vein of form ahead of a derby against Hackney on Saturday.
Hampstead took the lead against the run of play after absorbing some early pressure.
Slick passing by the backs, including the irrepressible centre Pete Bicknell, saw Hampstead elude the defensive cover and score through Ben Lockyer.
The away side missed a penalty on 13 minutes and were guilty of butchering a number of other opportunities in the first half.
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Nevertheless, Hampstead soon stretched their advantage to 12 points with an intercept try from winger Alex Brooks, just as Grasshoppers were again threatening the Hampstead line.
Dan Dimoline, returning from injury, judged the conversion to perfection from the touchline.
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Hampstead extended their lead soon after, with referee Craig Johnson awarding a penalty try for a high tackle on Arthur Haynes as the fly-half dotted down after more strong approach work from forwards and backs.
Grasshoppers responded with two quick tries before the break, but the failure to convert meant the home side turned around 19-10 down.
However, the home side was fastest out of the blocks in the second half, narrowing the deficit to four points within a minute.
Hampstead’s Bicknell hit back three minutes later with an outstanding solo effort, with footwork, guile and brute strength taking him through five tackles to score in the far corner.
Further tries by captain Max Moncrieff and a second each for Brooks and Haynes extended Hampstead’s advantage to 41-15, before Grasshoppers scored another unconverted try to secure them a welcome bonus point.
Hampstead then found themselves down to 13 men, with full back Neil Watt yellow carded for a high tackle and wing Alex Brook dismissed for dissent.
Two quick tries – both converted – earned Grasshoppers a losing bonus point, but Hampstead managed to cling on to secure a five-point haul.