Rosslyn Park still in second spot after victory in Macclesfield
Rosslyn Park remain second in National League One after a 30-25 win over a spirited Macclesfield side, who looked anything but relegation fodder.
Park, in truth, looked a disjointed compared with recent performances, which is perhaps not surprising with debutants Anthony Kent and Alex Keronias becoming the 33rd and 34th players to be used this season in only seven matches.
The home defence was soon under pressure when Park kicked off long and the ball was mishandled, for a scrum inside the home 22.
A poor pass from the scrum failed to press home the advantage. Under pressure, Macclesfield kicked out on the full but Park made a hash of their attacking lineout.
When Macclesfield broke out of defence they soon won a penalty, and quick play saw lock Matt Owen crash over the line. Tom Eaton added the conversion to put the basement club 7-0 ahead after only three minutes.
That was the spur Park needed and they quickly drove Macclesfield off their own ball. A run by Luke Campbell nearly reached the line before a decisive drive saw Hugo Ellis being the one to touch down as the pack drove over. Sam Katz added the conversion.
Park soon had another chance with an attacking line-out, but seemed to have got a Rugby version of the yips in this department and hardly controlled their own throw all afternoon.
Some superb interplay between Nev Edwards and Ed Lewis-Pratt took Park close to the line again, but unable to press home their advantage until Steve Parsons came onto the ball at speed and proved unstoppable from 25 metres out for 12-7 lead on 14 minutes.
Macclesfield hit back with a penalty to stay in touch, but it looked as if Park might run up a big score when another good move took them deep into opposition territory.
From a base in front of the posts the ball was quickly spread to the right and Lewis-Pratt galloped over in the corner for 17-10.
A further promising situation went begging when the home side turned over possession after another line-out, but Katz kept the scoreboard ticking over with a penalty on 30 minutes for 20-10 at the break.
Macclesfield started the second half as they had finished the first, but a great run out of defence by Dom Shabbo relieved the situation.
Another searing attack saw a good run by Charles Broughton cut through and he passed wide to Shabbo, who was tackled into touch only inches from the line.
The respite for Macclesfield was short, as Shabbo popped up on the other wing, was tackled, but regained his footing to scoot over for the fourth try, bringing the vital bonus point. Katz converted for 27-10.
Macclesfield soon replied, winning a penalty which they hammered to touch and, following the throw, replacement flanker Sam Moss got over to bring the score to 27-15.
When Park were awarded a penalty 10 metres into the Macclesfield half, with the bonus point already safely tied up, Katz pragmatically took the option of kicking three points.
Things started to look a little hairy for Park when the home side drove to the line and Dan Richmond – who had replaced Joe Clark as hooker 18 minutes earlier – was yellow-carded for his intervention and Macclesfield drove over against reduced numbers. Eaton took a quick drop kick to convert for 30-22.
The very last play saw Macclesfield awarded a penalty, and to huge cheers Eaton whacked it over to rescue a bonus point for his side, which they richly deserved for the spirit they showed.
Park host mid-table Tynedale this weekend.