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 captain Tom House admits his squad have been eyeing Saturday’s crucial top-of-the-table clash for a while, and he is confident of coming out on top.
Belsize secured their second promotion in three years last term, and they are now looking to move up from London North-West Division Three in the coming weeks.
House’s side sit second with three games to go, just four points behind Fullerians, and this weekend they host the leaders in a showdown which could decide who moves up the pyramid.
Belsize, who are unbeaten on their own turf in Regent’s Park since September 2013, have won seven games in a row and another victory could take them into top spot – which is the only place guaranteed to provide promotion.
Second place may well be enough, as it was last season, but a defeat on Saturday could open the door for third-placed Welwyn to overtake them and leave BP outside the top two.
“It’s absolutely massive, there’s no doubt about that in our minds,” House told Ham&High Sport. “We’re on a good run though, we’ve won every game since the new year and we can’t wait to get out there to be honest.
“I think our eyes have probably been on this for a little bit too long, hence the slightly closer results than we might have anticipated –like the one against Wasps in our last game.
“We kind of knew that we had to win everything up to this point to ensure that it mattered, but then as the momentum started to build and we beat Welwyn and then Datchworth a few weeks ago, we’ve really started to think about this big one.
“There’s everything to play for. We need to win with a bonus point and deny them a bonus point to go top, so it’s very exciting.”
A narrow victory would take Belsize level on points with Fullerians, but still leave them second. They need to score four tries to get the bonus fifth point, while also beating their rivals by at least eight points to deny their visitors a losing bonus point and overhaul them.
However, House is aware that an overly ambitious, gung-ho approach could backfire.
“Absolutely, and the boys won’t need any encouragement to get up for the game,” said the skipper. “If anything my job will be to keep them composed, keep them calm and keep them focused on doing what they’ve done so well all season.
“It will be about us playing our best game and sticking to our game plan and keeping it nice and straightforward.
“We’ve got some real fliers in our back line who can score from anywhere on the pitch, and they’ve been brilliant all season, so we’re not worried about not being able to score tries or anything like that. It’s not really been an issue.
“We haven’t really thought about the prospect of losing either, or what the implications of that would be. We try to only have positive thoughts.
“The games that we’ve lost, looking back, were times when we were maybe fielding slightly weaker sides, because of injuries or people travelling or having to work.
“But we’ve got a full-strength squad to pick from on Saturday – apart from my brother Freddie, who has unfortunately been injured for most of the year – so we can’t wait for it.”
Fullerians won the previous meeting between the sides in
December, but that was a narrow 24-21 victory on their home turf, and House is confident Belsize Park can gain revenge on their own ground this weekend.
“We felt we should have beaten them last time,” he said. “We missed three kickable penalties, we put a lot of pressure on them and we were hammering at their 22 but we couldn’t quite get into it.
“They kept conceding penalties at the breakdown but the referee wouldn’t send anyone off because it wasn’t in the 22, which seemed a bit arbitrary at the time.
“They’ve got a big set of forwards, they’re very organised, and they’re skilful at the breakdown. But we’ll have Sam Bennett back, who’s our master at the breakdown, and Alex Lee, who wins turnover after turnover.
“I don’t think either of those played the last time we played them so we’ll fancy our chances – and our home record speaks for itself.”
Taken from the article on the Ham & High: http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/sport/rugby/belsize_park_captain_admits_we_ve_been_waiting_for_fullerians_title_showdown_for_a_while_1_3999585
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