Rosslyn Park slump to heavy defeat
Hugo Ellis kept up his good form with another try on Saturday but could not stop Rosslyn Park losing 35-10 at Fylde in National One.
It all looked good for Park after the initial midfield sparring; a good move yielded an attacking line-out and Hugo Ellis coasted in from the left past some almost non-existent defending. Ross Laidlaw slotted home the conversion for 7-0 on nine minutes.
The visitors set up another good chance, Fylde were penalised, marched back 10 metres for arguing, and the match looked Park’s for the taking as they made their tackles and looked to have built a firm base.
That was as good as it got for them though as Fylde had other ideas. Always dangerous when in possession, they launched a blistering counter-attack. Park defended well and turned over possession, but when the home side regained the ball a slick move down the right saw winger Ben Rath go over on 21 minutes for 7-5.
This was all the encouragement they needed and barely five minutes later prop Peter Altham made ground to feed prop Gareth Rawlings to go over from close to the line to put his side ahead for the first time.
Park initially steadied the ship, but were not helped by their own errors, twice the most basic handling errors lost them the ball when in good field position. But a good attacking move saw them force a penalty and up stepped Laidlaw to equalise at 10-10 with 10 minutes to the interval.
Just as it looked as if the two teams would finish the half all square, Fylde gained a penalty of their own for fly half Chris Johnson to kick them to a 13-10 lead, but it looked for all the world as if Park could still prevail if they could just cut out the basic errors.
Whatever was said in the Fylde dressing room, they certainly came out fired up after the interval and soon won another penalty for Johnson to increase their lead.
Park were far from out of the match, though, but spoiled a very good chance with a knock on and fumbled another.
Twice Fylde were penalised in dangerous positions to allow Laidlaw to fire the ball to the touchline inside the home 22, but both times Park failed to retain possession of their own line-out ball.
A third penalty saw Laidlaw have a pop at goal from a position that he would be relied upon to score nine times out of ten, but this was the tenth time.
With an hour gone, home left winger Ollie Brennan seized upon a loose ball from a missed catch and, aided by some distinctly poor defensive work, eventually offloaded to Johnson who coasted in unchallenged, but could not convert his own try.
With a 21-10 lead, Fylde were now throwing the ball around and running with it as if the game was huge fun. Park began to look stereotyped and as if their trip to the seaside was anything but a pleasure. There was no doubting individual effort, but collectively they appeared to run out of ideas, or at least ones they could execute without mistakes.
Any faint hopes they may have held of a late comeback were extinguished when home scrum half Martin Wallwork took advantage of further poor defending to dart in and Johnson’s conversion took the score to 28-10. Things got worse for Park when Dom Shabbo was yellow carded.
With Park short-handed, Fylde exploited the open space with a crossfield kick that found Brennan with plenty of room to score with less than a minute to go after the conversion had made it 35-10.
However, that was still time for Hugo Ellis’ frustrations to see him join his team-mate in the sinbin to leave Park with only 13 players, who still managed to summon up enough of an argument to get marched back 10 metres.
It really was not Park’s finest afternoon. What had started out looking distinctly promising ended up being, frankly, something of a shambles. These things happen, but Park really need to shake themselves up before next Saturday if a season of so much success and excellent play is not to end with a tinge of disappointment.
Park: Mugford (Katz); Broughton, Parsons, Mackey, Shabbo; Laidlaw; Heeks; Ovens (Liffchak), Clark (McGrath), Liffchak (Ward); Bowley, McDonald (Ball); Baldwin, Rowland, Ellis.
Park scorers: Ellis (T), Laidlaw (P, C).
Sub (did not play): Gash.