Hampstead’s game against Chelmsford was delayed by 10 minutes as the teams had trouble crossing the picket line created by 11 of Hampstead’s outside backs who refused to play because of the selector’s decision not to play Glaysher at fly half. Despite the delay, Hampstead started strongly with centre Ceri Thomas making a break with his first touch of the ball. From that break Hampstead recycled the ball quickly and spread it wide for Thomas’ centre partner Pete Evans to score. Damien Naughton missed the conversion. Hampstead continued to dominate the game, particularly in the scrums, and were impressive when the ball was spun out wide. Irish winger Sean repeatedly beat his opposite number but he appeared to have an aversion to actually crossing the try line. It was from a series of scrums, which came about because the referee correctly adjudged Eoin Power to have knocked the ball on and to have been held up as he was too weak to stop the large Chelmsford scrum half from holding him up, that second row Matt Sollars squeezed over. Naughton added the extras.
Hampstead dominated but were unable to convert the pressure into points. Buoyed by their defensive efforts, Chelmsford came back into the game strongly and were the better team for the final 10 minutes of the half. They scored a converted try but resolute Hampstead defence stopped Chelmsford from scoring again, although Chelmsford came close with a number of rolling mauls. The half time score was 12-7 to Hampstead.
In the second half Hampstead turned on the style following words of encouragement at half time from Dave Corridan. The best try of the game was scored by James Nolan as Hampstead switched the point of attack to the blindside and hooker Bartholomew put in his front row partner Nolan for the score. Naughton converted from out wide. Winger John Henderson ran a great line in support of yet another break from Irish Sean to score Hampstead’s next try, unfortunately Naughton was unable to convert. Hampstead’s fifth try was scored by scrum half JD who bounced off five defenders on the way to the try line.
As Hampstead continued to dominate up front their forwards became more prominent with the ball in hand. On one occasion prop Pete Ward made an excellent 20 yard break,
but with a frightened Chelmsford full back, crying and practically on his knees at the sight of the on-rushing Ward, at Ward’s mercy, Ward opted for the unconventional American football quarterback pass. The referee judged the pass to have gone forward although Ward vociferously argued that it had only gone 15 metres forward.
Hampstead’s sixth was scored by flanker Tristan Morgan who stumbled through a large hole in the Chelmsford defence. Naughton missed the conversion attempt and handed the kicking duties to kicker Dave Bartholomew. The seventh and final Hampstead try was scored by replacement Vaughan Linklater who used his excellent positional skills to avoid contact and sneak through untouched. Dave “Bruce Longbottom” Bartholomew’s conversion attempt was caught on camera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ux4njZMHDg. The final score was 43-7 to Hampstead.
Reporter Gold spoke to Ceri Thomas after the game.
Gold: Ceri, I thought you had recovered from your cheek infection – they still look swollen though, are you ok?
G: sorry, I didn’t catch that, how are you feeling?
G: Are you unable to talk because your cheeks are getting in the way?
G: well, it’s not been my best interview but thanks anyway Ceri. Don’t forget your tissues for Shane Williams.