Codling begins Rosslyn Park life with impressive friendly win
Rosslyn Park kicked off their pre-season preparations with an impressive friendly 48-25 over Neath.
Sam Katz kicked 18 points while Paul Unseld (2), Callum McDonald, Peter Hodgkinson, Darryl Ball and Charlie Broughton all scored tries to leave new head coach Alex Codling happy with the work out.
"I was delighted with the boys' effort," he said.
"Neath is a very tough place to go and for a first outing there were loads of positives and some great skills on show.
"There is still plenty to work on and we are certainly not getting carried away but to win by the margin we did reflects how hard the group worked for each other.
"I was also very pleased with the contributions that the new boys made."
Park went onto the attack from the first whistle soon forcing an eminently kickable penalty, but opting instead to kick for touch. Will Bowley set up a drive and Neath were soon defending desperately.
Awarded another penalty Park opted for the scrum, a further penalty and the scrum was reset for another massive drive but when they spread the ball they knocked-on in crossing the line.
The pressure was maintained, a penalty taken as a quick tap and then Dom Shabbo made a superb run up the right. When awarded a further penalty, Park asked Sam Katz to have a shot at goal to finally put some points on the board but his effort glanced off the far post.
A handling error from a clearance kick gave Neath their first real incursion into Park territory, and they soon showed how useful a side they can be when granted possession. Park defended very proficiently until home fly half Dai Langdon took matters into his own hands, popping up on the left to get round the defence for a good try, which he converted himself for 7-0.
Neath were now looking good, but an excellent piece of play by full-back Peter Hodgkinson soon had Park back on the attack.
The ball was spread to both wings before a penalty was hoofed to touch close to the line. Hooker Adam Bellamy was finding Bowley with consistent ease in the line-out and this time the drive was far too powerful and Callum McDonald was the man who forced the ball down. Katz converted to level the scores.
Langdon and Katz swapped penalties for 10-10 before the Neath man had the last word with a neat drop goal shortly before half-time.
There was still time for Hodgkinson to launch a counter-attack, and a searing run from flanker Harry Broadbent nearly bore fruit, but the home side held out for a 13-10 lead at the interval.
Park soon snatched the lead in the second half when a super move was finished off by Hodgkinson, who came onto the ball at speed to get between the posts. Katz converted for 17-13.
Almost from the restart Park were back at them, this time the full-back started the move which was finished off by winger Paul Unseld who comfortably out-sprinted the defence. Katz again nailed a difficult conversion for 24-13.
Neath were far from beaten yet, aiming a penalty to the corner and driving for the line where somewhere among the melee centre Adam Jones managed to get the ball down, Langdon proving that he, too, could score the difficult conversions and reducing the margin to a mere four points.
Park swept back into the attack and Katz accepted a penalty to stretch the lead to seven points.
A magnificent move stretching across the field nearly bore dividends for the visitors, but it was a brilliant piece of opportunism by Unseld that eventually beat the defence.
The winger swooped on a momentarily loose ball close to left touchline and used his blistering pace to get to the try line before the defence could close him down. Katz hit another superb conversion for 34-20.
Almost from the restart another sweeping move saw Darryl Ball come onto the ball at pace and dive over, again converted, for 41-20.
It was now champagne stuff all the way and a devastating run by Charlie Gower had the home defence in shreds before Charlie Broughton ran over on the right, Katz adding the extras for 48-20.
Neath never gave up and a last minute consolation try by full-back Ceri Young made the final score 48-25.
Park: Hodgkinson; Vincent / Broughton, Simpson / Damant, Staff / Gower, Shabbo / Unseld; Katz; Grant / Gash; Liffchack / Ovens, Bellamy / Clark, McKenzie; McDonald / Boyle, Bowley / Ball, Lonergan / Starling, Broadbent / Blomfield, Ellis / Shires.
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