Belsize Park start the season in style
PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 September 2019
The new London One South season got underway with a clash between newly promoted sides and as a result was primed to be a ding dong battle.
Last year's champions Belsize Park came up trumps with a 51-7 victory over Beckenham despite the opening exchanges proving very competitive.
The Beckenham pack were without doubt the biggest Belsize have come up against on their climb through the ranks from Herts Middlesex Two.
And the way they dealt with this challenge was clearly going to be a deciding factor in whether they could lay a marker down towards their objective of securing promotion once again.
Shots were fired early with pent up aggression from five months of no competitive rugby coming to the fore.
Belsize opened the scoring in usual fashion as vice captain Scott Dougherty, nudged the home side in front from just outside the 22.
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Beckenham fired straight back through their strength, which was clearly their power up front - their outside backs virtually didn't get a look in all day - as they went 7-3 up.
The away side should, and were trying, to rely on their rolling maul from the lineout but the throwing let them down and Belsize's Will Ville swooped on several overthrows at the back and carried hard into the midfield to set a platform for the exit from the danger zone and relieve any pressure.
A series of phases followed, with Belsize arguably playing into the opposition's strength by carrying around the fringes, but a big carry from the newly returned Connor McGrath followed by his propping partner Matty Atkinson, got Park over to make it 10-7.
Beckenham never dropped away in terms of effort and intensity in the tackle.
But Josh Yerrell cantered home without the need for an extra gear given the pace differential between him and the quickest chaser and added another try later on to complete his hat-trick.
And a moment of class late on from Dougherty saw him fizz a pass over three men into the hands of winger, Mark Liebling, who needed only to collect and fall over the line.
Belsize entertain HAC in their first home match of the season on Saturday.