This weekend Belsize Park put out FIVE full strength squads! Starting 2015 with a bang and able to show how the strength and depth of of our Club keeps on growing. This season has already seen us build on the merits of last season and we don’t want it to stop there with four teams fighting for promotion and in contention to win their respective leagues!
The weekends results were;
1s W – Belsize 1sts 30-5 Wellwyn RFC
The first team started their New Year with a gutsy performance against fellow promotion hopefuls Welwyn. Hard running from John Corellis and Miran Serdarevich got them over the white wash in the first half and in the second Tricky Wilson and Will Allen crossed after mazy running in open play. This leaves Belsize in 3rd but equal on points with 2nd placed Welwyn, 6 behind Fullerians. Match report.
2s L – Bishop’s Stortford III 23 -19 Belsize 2nds
3s W – Belsize 3rds 88-14 Old Isleworthians II
Belsize 3s continued their perfect season making it 10 from 10 in the league with a 88-14 win over Old Isleworthians IIs. Flanker James Hardy was brutal as ever in defence allowing Scrum half Andrew Winder scored 4 tries while skipper and fly half Dave Tink collected 27 points. Belsize have a top of the league clash with 2nd placed Kilburn IIs next Saturday away.
4s L – Barnes Vets 33 – 7 Belsize 4ths
5s W – Ilford Wanderers 4s 8 – 52 Belsize Bulls
We will have 5 games on Saturday, with all the league XVs playing competitive rugby and another good friendly lined up for the Bulls, which we are hoping to move to the park. The highlight will no doubt be the 1s & 2s double header at our friends in Hackney, although the 3s & 4s also both have tough away games.
There is one more weekend of rugby until the short mid season break for Christmas. At this time of year I usually send a message outlining our recent achievements, and highlighting how in the past months we have reached heights never previously dreamed of. This is no longer the case.
As you will all know, on the pitch our success continues, with all league teams doing very well and either leading or pushing for the top. As these are leagues we have never reached before this is superb, but instead of these being achievements that we never thought we could achieve, these are now things that we have come to expect. Our expectations have been raised again and again, and every victory in the past few years has been built upon to the point where we all wake in the morning expecting to win, not hoping.
The same is true off the pitch, both on the financial and social sides, where we are stronger than we have ever been.
This isn’t to suggest that there should be any room for complacency, as success on and off the pitch is the product of hard work. It simply means that we can all relax this Christmas, and enjoy a few drinks and a bit of cake, in the knowledge that the graft is paying off.
It also means that we can come back in the New Year, energised for the fight and ready to tackle the challenges that a club of our size, and current stature, face. The massive target we have painted on our backs is one. More hard work, and the confidence in our ability that it has engendered, means that this should be a small mountain to climb and that more laurels await us in April.
Let’s therefore do all we can to ensure that we get to have another massive club day in April to celebrate the effort that everyone has put in. A smaller group will then jet off to represent Belsize at the frontier of world class touring, as always. I believe there are some cricketers joining us in Barbados so not only the pride of our club but the pride of our sport will urge us to win that particular party.
Thank you all for the effort and dedication you have shown to Belsize in 2014. Have a happy Christmas and New Year.
Belsize Park 1st XV were seeking revenge after lasts years Finals day against Hackney and beat them 39-25
On Saturday Belsize Park 2nd XV met Bishop Stortford III looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance against Hertford the week previous. Belsize showed intent from the kick off with the pack playing on the front foot and debut Fly Half Dave Johnston opening up the opposition defence with ease. The back three of Perkins, Smith & Levene were making yards every time they got the ball but the side was letting themselves down with too many unforced errors, constantly trying to throw the perfect offload. Belsize went into half time 4 tries to the good but had to start the second half with 14 men after being struck by a spate of injuries.
Playing with a man down galvanised the Belsize squad who took less risks and played a more structured game in the second half. Hooker Michael Downes and No8 Dave Shutte were a constant presence in the loose constantly putting the oppo on the back foot. The second half saw eight more tries as the game opened up with Belsize still dominating. The game finally ended 64-21. Second placed Belsize will now look to go top down the table when the meet top of the table Hackney 2nds next week.
The 3rd XV travelled to South West London to face Old Isleworthians, who proved very experienced and wily opposition. Despite Belsize having the younger team, the hosts battled hard in the first half keeping the game tight in the forwards. However, with the pace of Eddie Flynn and power of Lee Harrison and other subs entering the game in the second half, Belsize were able to spread the ball wide and score eight tries. The hosts got one consolation try and the match finished with the score 42-5.
It was a case of third time lucky with the Belsize Park 4 XVs fixture this week – eventually being hosted by Old Streetonians at Hackney Marshes. Belsize 4s stayed true to their brand of fast flowing rugby with the excellent centre pairing of Rod Jones and Miguel Martinez releasing the pacey outside backs who were constantly finding holes. The game was being played at such a pace that the fitness and mobility of our forward pack had us to every breakdown first, a very impressive display from one to eight. Despite being up against a team four leagues above the whole side fronted up, protected the ball and scored some fantastic team tries finally running out 32-10.
The Belsize Bulls put in a really impressive performance against Gravesend even though there were only 3 starters from the previous week. Up against a quality side Belsize played with real flair & pace in the counter attack and immense grit in defence despite being at one point down to 12 men due to 3 yellow cards (surely a dubious club record?). The first try came from Tatsuo who was able to outpace a tight defence to squeeze down the left wing before scoring close to the posts. Further tries came from Damian Kelso, running back Gravesend’s desperate kick to get out of their own half and Sam Duberley, showing pace down the left wing put Belsize 19 points up at half time. In the 2nd half Belsize obviously had the upper hand but by trying to run into the defence rather than use 3 man overlaps mean it was 20 minutes before Rob Rusk scored the 4th try. Gravesend changed tactics and obviously decided that their best chance of keeping the score down would be to stick the ball up their jumpers and try rolling mauls from all parts of this pitch this, coupled with a string of penalties led to a 12 man Belsize conceding under the posts. Nonetheless Kelso’s 2nd try, a great bit of support from Daniel Clement, a gem from Tatsuo at scrum half and 5 conversions from James Artuso meant that Belsize ran out 45 -14 winners.
The Belsize Vets took to the field for the first time in the 2014/15 season, playing against UCS Old Boys III who needed to replace a cancelled merit league game. Despite losing 31-22, the old guard played some good rugby in scoring 4 tries and definitely showed the opposition how half time should be done with port & oranges. After the match the embellished tales of derring-do went on until closing time.
Belsize Park missed the chance to extend their winning start to the season as they threw away a 20-point half-time lead to lose away against 14-man Welwyn in London North-West Division Three.
Ben Parker touched down twice and the returning Tristan Smith also crossed the line while Richard Wilson kicked a conversion and a penalty to put the visitors 20-0 up at the break.
But Chris Dan was sin-binned after the interval and Welwyn came back, running in five converted tries. The hosts were reduced to 14 men by a red card and BP’s Will Allen crossed the whitewash twice, but that was not enough.
Belsize Coach Andy Barrington:
“It was a terrible result to have gone from such a strong position to lose like that. We have hackney and stevenage in the next two rounds so we will really know what we can expect to aim for from our season after those games.”
Last weekend saw the second and final club day of the preseason with four teams taking to the field in Dulwich against Old Alleynians. Belsize fielded 79 players in an afternoon that saw another clean sweep for the central Londoners. The 1st XV ran out 38 – 14 victors, the 2nds 104 – 5, the thirds 41 – 17 and the fourths completed the rout 31- 22.
The Belsize attacking flair was evident across the board as free flowing rugby lead to the tries rained in from all areas.