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Home > News > Henley Hawks 20 - Rosslyn Park 10
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Your News Henley Hawks 20 - Rosslyn Park 10
23
OCT

Coach Florent Rossigneux said he wanted fresh minds and fresh legs for this Cup Tie, played just a week after Park had severely clipped Hawks’ wings in a League match. He certainly got that with an entirely new backs division and back row: only prop Dan Frazier and lock Russ Forster remained from last Saturday’s starting line up. But if this was effectively Park’s 2nd XV they certainly didn’t play like a second string, fronting up against a side standing fourth in National 3 South.

There was a 1st XV debut for fly half Rhys Gosling on the strength of his hat-trick for the 2nd XV against Plymouth Albion the previous week, and on this showing Dylan Pugh and Richard Mahony had better watch out! Also making his debut at this level was last season’s highly promising Colts centre, James Pedder, though you wouldn’t have guessed he wasn’t a regular.

Park started as if they meant business. A great move saw Mike Count barge through the middle and a lively Duncan Traynor almost got over. Immense pressure brought a penalty for Park, Doug Rodman taking a quick tap and plunging over but the referee was not ready for it to be taken. Park opted for the scrum to keep up the pressure, but stupidly undid themselves by chatting back to the referee and reversing a penalty to allow Hawks to clear their lines.

Henley attacked, Park defended well but conceded a penalty which Taylor missed for the home side. Hawks came back, Park hit them with a counter-attack but an interception saw them again defending and conceding another penalty on 12 minutes. Taylor missed again.

Park enjoyed a period of ascendency and really stretched the home defence, and eventually the home lock, Nixon, was yellow-carded. Park had a scrum near the line and a neat reverse pass saw Roy Turner dart in to give Park a 5-0 lead, Gosling adding 2 further points with the conversion.

Back came Park and a well-struck penalty saw Gosling increase the lead to 10-0.

Towards the end of the half, back to 15 men, Henley began to get on top. Park defended well but Rob Hume was pinged for playing the ball on the floor and yellow carded, giving Hawks the easiest penalty imaginable right in front of the posts. But poor Tommy Taylor had clearly forgotten to chalk his cue and made a terrible hash of it.

Short-handed Park defended heroically but were undone when a shrewd kick lofted the ball wide on the right where Nixon caught the ball wide on the right wing with his first touch since his dismissal and plunged over to make it 10-5 at half time.

Starting the second period short-handed Park were soon under pressure, and the ball was spilled attempting to run it out of defence. The Henley kick and catch routine was deployed again, this time to the left, and winger Davies gratefully accepted the chance to bring the scores level at 10 – 10.

If Park were slightly the better team in the first half, Hawks were now very much in the ascendancy and took the lead in the 56th minute through winger Flammia, catching the defence short handed, and Taylor had clearly repaired his radar, nailing a good conversion for 17-10.

Park may have been slightly on the back foot by now, but they were certainly trying and a run out of defence by Gosling looked promising, only to be halted for a penalty for an earlier late tackle. Taylor’s kick left Park needing to score at least twice, which now looked unlikely.

Park did almost get one back when a massive forward drive set up a period of possession in the home 22 which saw Richard Jackson come within an inch of getting over. At the other end the Hawks winger nearly scored but for a forward pass. Deep into injury time Park managed a further raid but when Doug Rodman was harshly pinged for not releasing, the penalty was belted out of the ground to bring the final whistle.

Henley deserved to win, but from a Park perspective it was an immensely encouraging afternoon, showing the great strength in depth in the wider squad with several players putting down markers that they should not be overlooked.

Park: R Jackson; Traynor (McKeown), Pedder, Paul, Turner; Gosling; Lapidus (Barr); Hume, Tauialo (Blemings), Frazier (Daw); Ryan, Forster (Sedman); Corin, Rodman, Count (Gates).

Sub did not play: M Jackson.

Park scorers: Turner (T), Gosling (P, C)

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