After two losses the Hammers travelled to Regent’s Park to take on the challenge of Belsize Park. Not only was the 1st XV having to deal with a not insignificant exodus to Munich for the beer festival, but also a late injury to Captain Horsley meant a very late change with debutant Scott Templeman stepping off a plane from New York and straight into the Hooker berth. After recent heavy defeats against Belsize the challenge was rather large.
Stand-in Captain Blyghts told the lads that defence would determine the match, but in fact the hammers went on the attack. Good multi-phase attacks put Belsize under pressure with the Hammers back row making good yards in the midfield channels. The Hammers hit a fast pace, and when breaks in the game occurred the Hammers looked the fitter side. Unfortunately the first try was completely against the run of play with the Belsize right wing scoring an unconverted try. This was swiftly followed by a try by the Belsize prop (converted) leaving the Hammers 12-0 down. This weeks Hammers side were full of spirit and again went on the attack with a great break by Magnus led to Fly Half Josh Thomas being held up over the line. Minutes later the Belsize Scrum half saw yellow for a Judo throw on Tony Bryant, which sadly saw him leave the field for Oktoberfest, Josh Thomas converted the penalty. Disappointingly the Belsize fullback scampered over at the stroke of halftime.
HT Belsize Park 17 – Hammersmith & Fulham 3
During the halftime team talk the Hammers felt confident that the game was still there for the taking with the Belsize team looking the more tired. Again the Hammers back-row of Ultan, Magnus & Precious hit many tackles and made many yards and constantly badgered the Belsize defence. Keith Rogers and Josh Thomas linked well and debutants Alex Jouan and Hamish Dalgarno return kicks with vigor and play Hammersmith into good positions and Jouan crossed for a converted try after the hour mark.
While under pressure behind there own line Belsize gambled and scored a length of the field try to edge the game, which a further converted try by TK (conversion by Josh) could not close the gap. The Hammers emptied their bench with Dave Bloxsom showing his pace, Ferdi Floto keeping the pressure on in the scrums and Tom Broadway making his 1s debut after many years of great work for the club. But ultimately it was not to be.
This was a much improved performance by Hammersmith and this was a game which could of been won against a good, well drilled side. A tough shift follows against Harpenden, which the Hammers should be confident in their fitness, the continuity in play and their defence.
FT Belsize Park 24 – 17 Hammersmith & Fulham
MOM – Charlie Precious
Tin man – Magnus
Tries – Alex Jouan, Tommy K
Kicks – Josh Thomas (2con, 1pen)