Belsize III’s make it 49 games undefeated and push on to League and Cup Double in season 14/15!
After an undefeated season which saw Belsize III’s take 69 out of a possible 70 points for the season, with a points differential of +660 from 14 games, the season was on the line against the Thamesian Spartans who had been in excellent form at the back end of the season, pushing Belsize to a tight 28-14 result only a few weeks ago.
Belsize headed into the game full of confidence after beating Northolt (leading the league above) 40-5 in the Bowl Semi Final and came out of the blocks, fired up in the Semi. Within minutes Park were on the board and followed up with some good forward tries immediately after, including a lovely rolling maul move from a line out. Everything was going right and the backrow of Lee Harrison, Stef Pozzebon and Jimmy Thillet working exceptionally hard, although the same could be said for the entire pack, who really were the difference. The Belsize backs did what they have done all season in running straight hard lines for their 10 to pick a man, with great support play from the outside men. Although the team was disappointed to back off in the second half, with the game won at half time there was a lot to be pleased about.
Attention now turns to the final games of the season, both of which are grand finals. Importantly this win took our Belsize 3s to 49 games undefeated with the first sudden death game (v Kilburn IIs in League Final) to the only opportunity to make it 50. Belsize will face Kilburn again on 18 April in the MMT Cup Final which many punters say is shaping up as great club day out.
Final Score – Belisze III’s 68- Spartans 0
(2 tries to Lee Harrison, Stef Pozze, Brad Stuart, and Andrew Winder with Ben Gandy, Miguel “Miggy” Martinez grabbing 1. )
Belsize Park completed a clean sweep this weekend with 1s,2s,4s, Bulls and Vets all winning.
The 4s victory, 15 -17 at home to Tring IV ensured their promotion with three games still to go. A significant achievement given their first year of league rugby down in no small part to talismanic captain Colum Harkin.
The first team beat Old Streetonians 39 – 31. Full match report available here.
The 2s beat Fullerians 2nds 15 -0, the Bulls beat Hillingdon Abbotts 2nds 75-5 and the mighty Vets beat their Kilburn counterparts 19 -5.
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.
The availability form is open here: http://tiny.cc/Belsize_Availability
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.