St Albans miss out on bonus point against Belsize Park
- Credit: Archant
St Albans Rugby Club were denied a losing bonus point late on against Belsize Park – despite a brave fightback.
Trailing 17-0 past the midway point of the first half, Saints rallied against the London North West Three league leaders before a late penalty left them on the wrong end of a 20-10 scoreline.
There was still time in the dying seconds for player-coach Jeremy Walmsley to break through the Park defences only to be denied just short of the line.
His introduction at half-time helped St Albans carry on a fightback started moments before the break.
Joe Shaw latched onto a pop pass from Mark Kentish and made impressive head way before captain John Sayers drove over.
From the kick off St Albans picked where they left off.
Walmsley led from the front after the break, as the conditions at an aptly-named Boggymead worsened.
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Saints kept Belsize on the back foot with bursts from midfield out wide.
Dan Satchel in particular had a fine game, picking out lines to beat the cover tackles.
And eventually they got their reward when prop Harry Towland took the ball on and flanker Tony Stevenson used his bulk to drive the extra yard to score.
That left the score at 17-10 but Park added a late kick to rip the bonus point away.
Earlier they had started all guns blazing, using the driving wind and rain to force St Albans onto the defence from the kick off.
Courageous tacking kept the visitors at bay until a speculative kick and chase broke the deadlock.
Wise game management showed why they are contenders for the title, forcing Saints to play deep in their own half.
The pressure resulted in two further tries and gave tem the cushion which in the end proved valuable.
St Albans travel to Finchley in their next game on March 6.