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Home > News > Rosslyn Park 14 - North Walsham 0
Your News Rosslyn Park 14 - North Walsham 0

A magnificent defensive performance, in terms of both organisation and commitment, earned Park the points. Playing with both wind and sun at their backs in the first half, the Norfolk side had a clear advantage in both territory and possession, and they at least held their own in both departments during the second period. However, they were unable to carve out a single real scoring chance, nor did Parks defence concede a single kickable penalty during their labours.

In contrast, given far less ball to work with, Park fashioned two decisive scores, the second of which was a try of a quality that would have graced any match. With the North Walsham defence also keen and well-marshalled, it was a match to delight defensive coaches rather than the casual spectator. That cannot bother Park who have spent too much time this season entertaining at the cost of points gathering.

Park spent most of the first half absorbing pressure, punctuated with the odd breakout. There were some potential breaks from John Swords, and Parks back row found time in between stopping the opposition to test the visiting defence with a few drives of their own. But it was not until the 29th minute that Park entered the visiting 22 with full malice aforethought. It proved decisive. First a great run from Swords, then from Canty (who was eventually picked up by his own forwards and driven onwards). A score looked inevitable. Mike Count got over and was held up. Walsham stopped the consequent scrummage only by illegal means and were warned that a penalty try was imminent. Instead of opting to reset the scrum, Park kicked to touch for the catch and drive and then, with the visiting defence committed, quickly worked it wide to Swords who scored. Richard Mahony added the conversion for 7-0.

North Walsham a far better side than their league position suggests - spent the rest of the half vainly probing for a gap that wasnt there, and would have been bitterly disappointed to have had the support of the elements but to have finished 0-7 down. The real worry for Park was that Michael Poppmeier, on his return from injury, had hurt his ankle shortly before the break. He emerged from the dressing room with the joint swathed in bandages and spent the rest of the interval on the pitch testing it out. He played on, but it did not help Parks cause that it was clearly worrying him.

With the wind at their backs and the sun in Walshams eyes, Park saw far more of the ball in the second period but failed to exploit the wind as much as they probably should have done. Given a penalty that was within Mahonys range, they showed attacking intent by opting to kick for position, but it was a dour struggle with defences on top, Park failing by and large to put in the long kicks on the helpful wind that would have pinned-back the Norfolk side.

The stalemate was broken on the hour by a superb try fashioned out of nothing by some high-speed inter-passing up the right wing between John Swords and Dave Riley which ended in the latter scoring wide of the posts. Mahony slotted over the conversion for 14-0.

North Walsham battled to get back into a match that they probably felt they should be winning. They came closest with a searing run up the right from full-back Robert Clymer, but when he was nailed by a superb last ditch tackle from substitute full-back Ed Lewis-Pratt you knew that Park had just trumped their best card. Not by any means a great match, but touch wood a defensive performance Park can build upon.

Park: Canty; Riley, Swords, Paul, Watkins (Lewis-Pratt); Mahony; Evans; Charlton, Tauialo (Huggett), Blom (Frazier); Forster (Jones), Poppmeier; Gates, Underwood, Count.

Park scorers: Swords (T), Riley (T), Mahony (2C).

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