Belsize Park’s unbeaten run is ended by the leaders - but Hampstead triumph at Hammersmith & Fulham
PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 November 2016 | UPDATED: 17:05 29 November 2016
Belsize Park suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday as they lost their London Division Two North West showdown with title rivals Old Haberdashers in Regent’s Park.
Belsize started the day just one point behind the leaders, and they had a dream start as Will Ville scored under the posts, while James Russell converted before adding a penalty to leave the hosts 10-0 up.
Jack Marples also went over the line in the corner, but Haberdashers fought back with three first-half tries of their own, followed by a penalty – and BP had to come from behind to level the scores before half-time, with full-back Ed Mott crossing the whitewash out wide to make it 20-20 at the interval.
Haberdashers regained the lead in the second period, going eight points up with a try and a penalty. And, although Belsize kicked a penalty of their own, they failed to exit properly from the restart for the third time and conceded a final try, going down 33-23.
Director of rugby Zach Webb said: “It was a tough match against very composed opposition. The guys put in a very honest performance but we had a few structural issues that our best efforts wouldn’t overcome. We are now very hungry for the return fixture.”
Belsize Park now find themselves six points off the top – but Hampstead remain level with Old Haberdashers after triumphing 28-13 away against Hammersmith & Fulham.
Hampstead were 14-0 up after just two and a half minutes following tries from Olufemi Ajayi and Jonty Hallett and two conversions from the clinical Dan Dimoline.
Rob Sykes then crossed the line to leave Peter Breen’s visitors 21-3 up, but he then suffered a rib injury while Mike Redfern fractured his jaw, which unbalanced the team.
Hammersmith scored either side of half-time, narrowing the gap to eight points, but a converted try from Tom Aiken secured Hampstead’s ninth victory from 10 games.
Breen said: “It’s the first time we’ve beaten Hammersmith for four years and it’s the first time we’ve won there since 2009 – it’s not a happy hunting ground for us. It was very satisfying, apart from the injuries.
“If you’re going to win this league you’ve got to beat Haberdashers at least once and I’d say probably twice, because they are formidable – they’ve scored 100 points more than anyone else.
“I wasn’t surprised by the score in the other game – they’re the form team. But it’s so exciting to be looking forward to games and knowing you’re in the mix.”
Belsize Park and Hampstead both have a weekend off now before they go head to head in Regent’s Park on Saturday December 10.
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