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Hooker Webb discusses Belsize Park’s stellar start to the season

PUBLISHED: 17:28 08 October 2013 | UPDATED: 20:37 08 October 2013

The Belsize Park first XV. Pic: Kully Khella

The Belsize Park first XV. Pic: Kully Khella

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Belsize Park maintained their fine start to the season with a narrow 27-26 victory over Bank of England, securing their third win from their opening four fixtures in Herts/Middlesex Division One.

Miran Serdarevic opened the scoring with a try for BP, who were pegged back by a penalty kick and were then reduced to 14 men after losing a player to the sin-bin.

However, the hosts extended their lead as Sebastien Dunnet scored from a charged down clearance kick, giving them a 17-9 half-time lead.

Bank responded with two tries but Belsize struck back as winger Mark Liebling and full-back Guy Parker both crossed the line to ensure a slender victory – and a bonus point for their four tries – against very strong opposition.

Unfortunately, the victory was marred by serious injuries to both props – loosehead Jim Turner dislocated his left ankle and tighthead Jonny Jones, the captain, ruptured his Achilles.

However, hooker Zach Webb believes Belsize Park will be able to able to maintain their early momentum.

“Tom House, our vice-captain is absolutely another talisman around the club,” he told Ham&High Sport. “Losing Jonny is definitely a challenge but it’s not an insurmountable one, and he’ll still be around on matchdays, which is great for us. He’ll still be a big influence.

“What’s behind our recent results? It’s [head coach] Andrew Barrington’s second season here, and quite a few of the first team joined half way through last season.

“I think everyone’s bedded in now and that cohesion and continuity is having a good impact on the field and is being reflected in our results.

“The game we lost, against Kilburn Cosmos, happened when half of the team was away, and hopefully that won’t be the case again.”

Belsize can count themselves somewhat unfortunate that, despite winning three of their four opening fixtures, they only sit fourth out of the 12 teams in the division – and they will be aiming to improve on that position when they travel to face seventh-placed Cheshunt this weekend.

Meanwhile, the progress being made by Belsize’s first XV is being reflected across the club as a whole, and they fielded five sides at the weekend – with four of them coming out on top.

In addition to the first team, the second string won their match 55-17, while the Buffaloes (the fourth team) were convincing 52-24 victors and the Bisons (the fifth side) triumphed 24-7. The Bulls (the third team) lost 35-10.

BP are due to put out six teams for the first time this weekend as the veterans prepare for their first match and Webb, who is also the club’s director of rugby, has been delighted by the rapid growth that he has seen.

“If you go back three years we probably had two and a half teams,” said the 30-year-old. “We’ve got an awful lot of new players in this year – probably between 70 and 80. We’ve had a big recruitment drive, trying to pick guys up straight out of university.

“We’ve got four coaches onboard now and we’ve got some high-quality players. Once you get one or two in then they start to bring their mates and everything progresses from there.

“We play in Regent’s Park and we’re now training in Coram’s Fields – which has a brand new 3G pitch and was difficult to secure. We’re absolutely the most central club in London, with the largest catchment area of players in the world, and it’s great to see everything moving in the right direction.”

Belsize Park receive sponsorship from Figtree, Hamptons and Source in Camden and get continued support from The Sheephaven Bay pub.


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