Belsize Park winning streak ended by title rivals but they remain top of the standings
PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 March 2019
Belsize Park had their five game winning run brought to a halt by their London 2 North West title rivals Harpenden as they suffered a narrow 22-19 defeat.
The game began with gale force winds and Belsize playing into it in the first period.
It quickly became evident that kicking out of the twenty-two was borderline pointless and carrying or mauling had to be the way to go to exit.
Lineout darts were incredibly hard to throw accurately with one gust taking a ball that started straight directly into the Belsize’s scrum half’s hands.
Harpenden had much of the opening exchanges as Belsize were pinned for the first twenty minutes.
The defence held resolute and remarkably only three points were conceded; the back row turning over ball at crucial occasions close to their own line.
Eventually Belsize got a foothold in the game, once the plan was adapted to conditions.
After punching away for multiple phases Belsize’s own pressure then told with a try from Harrison George leaving the score 3-7 at half-time despite the run of play and conditions.
The second half, however, was littered with silly errors and Harpenden’s size then started to tell.
A momentary lapse on two occasions allowed them to dart over the top of the ruck and gallop through.
Despite the scrum woes the lineout drive was extremely effective which was keeping Belsize in the game.
Three points down and seconds on the clock a break was made down the left into the Harpenden twenty-two.
The cover tackle from the 12 coming across was high, but it did present one last chance from the penalty.
Not a thought was given to the point’s option and the draw given how successful the maul had been, as the corner was selected.
A slightly messy lineout followed, which Will Ville cleaned up effectively but it didn’t allow the maul to form properly.
Carry after carry, runners threw themselves towards the line before a turnover from the home side meant a minute of keep ball was enough for Harpenden to seal the hard fought win and keep the league alive for another two weeks.
With third place Chiswick losing it is likely both sides will finish in the promotion slots.