Hendon overcome Belsize Park - but will it be in vain?
- Credit: Archant
Herts/Middlesex 1: Hendon 25 Belsize Park 23
Hendon recorded back-to-back league victories for the first time this season, beating local rivals Belsize Park with the last kick of the game.
However, their efforts may well be in vain, with relegation looking likely regardless of what happens in their final match on Saturday.
Ordinarily, two teams drop out of the division. Harlequins Amateurs were relegated before Christmas, having been unable to fulfil their fixtures, while Hendon’s recent victories over Verulamians and Belsize over the last fortnight have ensured that they will finish above West London.
However, promotion and relegation issues above Herts/Middlesex 1 mean that three teams are likely to be relegated this year.
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Hendon are occupying the third spot and they cannot catch Verulamians, who are 22 points ahead.
Whatever happens, Hendon will be able to reflect on a spirited climax to their campaign, and a derby victory over Belsize Park.
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Belsize had the advantage of the slope and the wind in the first half, and Adam Marcus and Jon Toy touched down to give them a 10-0 lead.
Hendon halved the deficit on the half-hour mark as Terry Gilbride finished off a maul, but BP came straight back with a converted Jim Turner try.
Despite that setback, Hendon finished the first half on the attack and a yellow card reduced Belsize to 14 men, with Lee Linale slotting the penalty to leave the scores at 17-8 at the interval.
Park extended their lead with a penalty at the start of the second period, but from then on it was all Hendon.
Linale scored another penalty, and Tommy Middleton then touched down from a driving maul, with Linale converting to narrow the gap to 20-18.
BP made it 23-18 with a penalty, but Hendon never gave up and they set up another driving maul in the last minute, with Middleton grabbing an equalising try.
That gave Linale the chance to win the game with the last kick from the conversion. He initially missed but the referee awarded another attempt as the BP players had charged too early – and the second effort sailed between the sticks.
Belsize Park have now finished their campaign, ending up in seventh spot.
Meanwhile, in London Division 3 North-West, Haringey Rhinos suffered a 17-3 home defeat against Wasps.