9:00am Monday 6th January 2014
By Bernard Wiggins
Rosslyn Park remain second in National League One after Saturday’s 28-6 win over Henley Hawks at Priory Lane.
The conditions conspired against the visitors who were unable to play their usual running game, and Park’s solid defence dealt comfortably with the series of high kicks and chip kicks that were offered up as plan B.
Only four minutes had elapsed when Scott Sneddon put Park ahead with a simple penalty in front of the posts.
Nine minutes later, Henry Staff was put clear, only for the final pass to go astray in the tackle - but Sneddon added another three points from 35m out when the visitors sinned.
Staff did go over mid-way through the first half when scrum half Jack Gash surged clear from a line out and Staff took a scoring pass to go in under the posts.
Stop there: A Henley Hawks attack is snuffed out
Henley hit back with a determined attack that yielded a penalty for fly-half, James Comben, to put his side on the score sheet. With five minutes left in the half, Park’s Dave Vincent was yellow carded, and Henley’s Comben kicked the penalty for 13-6.
However, as the half closed, Park returned to the attack and from a deliberate knock-on, Sneddon added his third penalty to close the half at 16-6.
The second half became a battle of the defences as the ball became more and more difficult to handle.
But Park took a decisive lead in the 56th minute when the impressive Gash collected hard won ball on half-way and accelerated clear, only to be tackled into touch yards from what would have been a spectacular solo try.
Gash’s effort was not in vain as Park won the 5m lineout, and Sam Shires peeled off the resulting maul and crashed over the line - Sneddon added the extras and, given the conditions, Park were out of sight at 23-6.
As the clock ticked down, Park laid siege to the Henley line and the visitors conceded two penalties through scrummaging offences.
All the way: Henry Staff breaks free to score Rosslyn Park's first try on the afternoon
From the third “elected” scrum Tom Baldwin, who had come on as a late substitute, forced his way over the line.
There was no time for a restart and while missing out on the bonus point, Park will be satisfied that for the third match in a row, their opponents had not managed to cross their line.
Park: Lewis-Pratt, Broughton, Staff/Cobb, Mackey/Hodgkinson, Vincent, Sneddon, Gash, Lundberg, Bellamy, Liffchak/Ward, Inglis/Bowley, Boyle, Ball, Broadbent/Baldwin, Shires.
Supremacy: Park reigned supreme in the lineout against Henley Hawks
Supremacy mk II: Park reigned supreme in the defence as well
Supremacy mk III: Sam Shires goes bags a try for Rosslyn Park, something Henley could not manage to do
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