Hampstead coach sees signs of progress despite defeat against Chiswick
PUBLISHED: 17:09 20 October 2014 | UPDATED: 17:09 20 October 2014
Hampstead coach Peter Breen believes his side showed signs of progress against high-flying Chiswick despite Saturday's 40-23 defeat and a second successive defeat in London North-West Division Two.
The home team started steadily on Hampstead Heath extension and withstood some fierce pressure from Chiswick, who have strong designs on automatic promotion this year and currently sit third in the table.
It took 20 minutes for Chiswick to break down the Hampstead defence, but one try was quickly followed by another 90 seconds later to give the away team a 14-0 lead.
Last season, that would have been enough for Hampstead to crumble and lose by 60 points. But Breen’s side - missing injured captain Andy McEwen and influential centre Pete Evans - are made of sterner stuff this year and rallied with two penalties from Dan Dimoline.
That was followed by a try from close range by openside flanker Max Moncrieff and, although Dimoline missed the extras, Hampstead were well in the game at half-time, trailing 14-11.
A well-contested match continued into the second half and Hampstead scored a fine try to take the lead. Instigated by a brilliant run, chip and gather by Dimoline, Hampstead broke away from their own 22 and Dimoline offloaded to centre Alex Woodhouse, who popped the ball to scrum-half Will Pettit to score under the posts - and Dimoline duly converted.
Unfortunately the lead didn’t last long and Chiswick were able to pull away in the last third of the match, thanks in no small part to their full-back, who Breen labelled “the best player in the league”. Hampstead grabbed a third try through Woodhouse, but it wasn’t enough.
“I’m not too unhappy with how we played, but we did lack concentration at key moments,” said Breen.
“Chiswick are a very good side and last year we wouldn’t have lived with them. To take the lead early in the second half and score three great tries shows what we’re capable of. We’ve got some great new players coming through and the future is looking bright.
“Still, that’s two losses in a row in the league and we need to get back to winning ways. St Albans next week is massive and training this week will reflect that.”