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Battling Belsize squeezed out in promotion play-off

PUBLISHED: 16:41 04 May 2007 | UPDATED: 14:32 07 September 2010

Belsize Park missed out on promotion from Herts Middlesex League division two (south) after a number of try-scoring chances went begging in their play-off against Old Millhillians at Harrow RFC on Saturday.

Belsize Park 10

Old Millhillians 15

Belsize Park missed out on promotion from Herts Middlesex League division two (south) after a number of try-scoring chances went begging in their play-off against Old Millhillians at Harrow RFC on Saturday.

A much-changed Park side started the first few minutes strongly and early pressure gave them a penalty shot at goal, but the ball came back off a post. Millhillians scrambled the ball away and then for the next 15 minutes enjoyed their only spell of pressure with the ball.

Millhillians punished several missed tackles with two clinical tries and added a conversion and a penalty to lead 15-0.

Park's chances were dented when Greg Jenkins was taken to hospital with a nasty blow to the head.

However, Belsize bounced back and began playing incisive rugby. Good pressure from the forwards and quick hands creating the smallest of gaps on the outside for Ed Grant to skate along the touchline and scored the corner.

A second try followed shortly after when, once again, a good platform from the forwards gave the backs the ball on the front foot and allowed Mal Deay to offload brilliantly from a tackle to Richard Wokes on the loop.

However, both conversions drifted just wide, and despite being camped on Millhillians line, the half-time score stayed at 15-10.

The second half saw Belsize playing all the rugby, but they found themselves on the wrong end of refereeing decisions on several occasions.

"We created chances but did not get the little bit of luck we needed," said kipper Iain Deay.

"Adrian Price was pulled back for a marginal forward pass. Then, Chris Geary came off the bench to add his power and was inches from scoring more than once.

"Mal Deay almost gathered a cross field kick, but his flick inside to Adrian was ruled forward, so the try was disallowed."

Millhillians finished with 13 players for repeated infringements. However, they held firm and to claim the victory and promotion.

"Overall, this has been a pretty good season," added Deay. "We beat everyone in the league at least once and improved massively as we went.

"This just means next year we have to win the league - a goal which is achievable with the guys we have. This is a very talented squad and there will be a lot of competition for places in all positions next year."

Belsize squad: Smart, I Deay, Taylor, Dix, Hope-Bell, Callender, Berkett, Cropp, Terry, Geary, Stephenson, Burke, Wokes, Grant, M Deay, Wilson, Jenkins, Morris, Price.

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