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Home > News > Rosslyn Park 26 - Canterbury 6
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Your News Rosslyn Park 26 - Canterbury 6

This was a far better performance by Park, despite awful conditions for the type of rugby at which they excel. A bitterly cold wind, squally showers, mixed with sleet at times, made handling and passing extremely difficult. The wind direction favoured the visitors in the first half, then changed along with the teams at half time to be at best a cross wind and generally still in Canterbury’s favour. From the off, Park looked a little sharper than fifth placed Canterbury, who were themselves clearly a useful outfit. The first chance came to Park when Dylan Pugh kicked to touch in the visiting 22 but the ensuing attack was stopped by a knock on, the first of many that bedevilled both sides. Soon after, Park had a kickable penalty reversed on the intervention of the touch judge. Howard Quigley’s boot had come perilously close to the head of an opponent; anyone who knows Quigley also knows he is the last player to have done this maliciously or deliberately, but with safety at stake the referee had little option but to order him to spend 10 minutes in the sin bin. A man down, Park sensibly took the match to their opponents. A super run through the middle by Hayden Roche saw his pass narrowly miss the outstretched fingers of his winger with a try definitely on. Worse still, from Park’s perspective, the scrum half had injured himself in the process and had to be replaced. Park took the lead in the 17th minute when an attack through the middle was stopped at the cost of a penalty, converted by Pugh for 3-0. Although Park’s backs had rediscovered some of their sharpness, Canterbury were no mugs and centre Ben Thomas (no relation to the former Park player of the same name) belted a long range penalty through the uprights for 3-3. Enjoying a slight advantage in territory and possession, despite playing into the wind, Park deserved the score they recorded immediately before the interval. Skipper Rob Jewell started it with a characteristically strong burst through the middle before the ball was spread wide to the right; the pack hammered on the door but superb defence kept them out, so they passed back inside and Jewell ran an unstoppable line to go under the posts. Pugh’s conversion made it 13-3 at the break. When Park emerged for the second half, the expected wind advantage had switched as well. To add to their woes, full back Nick Canty got injured and had to be replaced. But Park buckled down to play – in the conditions – some delightful rugby. Canterbury were too good a team for Park to simply boss about, but they were conceding penalties as the price of coping with the lively home side. These were gratefully accepted by Pugh to extend the lead to 19-3 after 65 minutes. The visitors also had their moments. Thomas added a second penalty when Park were rather harshly penalised for not rolling away in the tackle, to make it 19-6. The difference between the two teams, though, was highlighted when the Kent side tried to build on it by putting Park under pressure. The home side won the ball and launched a superb counterattack with outstanding running and handling skills that saw winger Dave Riley bundled into touch deep in the opposition 22. There was poetic justice when Park’s next try was scored by number 8 Adam Gates, whose rampaging runs had yielded at least one of the penalties. In the 72nd minute the defence simply could not stop him and Pugh added the extras for 26-6. The match now effectively won, Park set out to try everything to get the two more tries they needed to wrest a bonus point. It was never really on, but this was a significant step towards early season form. It could be that the mighty effort against London Scottish a few games back took more out of them – emotionally as well as physically – than any of us realised. However, the team now face a very tricky visit to Dings Crusaders next Saturday before their final home match – the long awaited showdown with Ealing on 18th April.

Park: Canty (Simmons); Swords, Cadwallader, Jewell, Riley; Pugh;

Roche (Barr); Huggett, Ritchie (Tauialo), Frazier; Quigley (Ryan), Forster;

Jones, Anayi, Gates.

Sub (not playing): Daw

Park scorers: Jewell (T), Gates (T), Pugh (4P, 2C).

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