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.