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Home > News > Rosslyn Park 32 - Barking 24
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Your News Rosslyn Park 32 - Barking 24

Park attacked from the off. Barking cleared to touch, but from the throw Chris Ritchie mounted another charge only for silly indiscipline to allow Barking a penalty to clear their lines. Taking a scrum against the head, Ritchie and John Swords both had runs at the visiting defence but this time a knock-on stopped them.

It was 9 minutes before the visitors were able to mount any sort of attack, but when they did they were immediately rewarded with a penalty that allowed full-back Bryan to kick them to a 3-0 lead. That was soon cancelled out when, almost from the restart, Barking offended at the scrum and Richard Mahony slotted over an equaliser.

Park had a clear edge up front and, surprisingly, showed a lot more urgency than did Barking, whose very survival as a National League side depended upon getting some results quickly. Park soon had another penalty on half way and this time Mahony drilled it with great precision into touch within the visitors’ 5 metre line. From the catch and drive, Barking simply could not resist as Chris Ritchie drove over close to the corner with the help of his pack for 11-3.

It was now all Rosslyn Park, though they were not notching up the points to match their supremacy. On the half hour another slide-rule penalty to touch from Mahony, this time to the opposite corner but the outcome just the same: Russ Forster caught, the pack drove over and Ritchie had try number two, Mahony’s conversion from out wide making it 18-3.

From kick off, Mahony drilled the ball back deep into the visitor’s half and, poaching the Barking throw, Nick Huggett and Ritchie put together some inter-passing neat enough to threaten their eviction from the front row union, but Park were eventually “done” for not releasing. Barking counter-attacked but there was no way through the home defence and they settled for laying the ball back to fly half Owen for a neat drop goal to make it 18-6.

Park were back again with a great run from Nick Canty, then as the match went into first half injury time they set up a mighty maul on the Barking line. As more defenders were sucked into resistance a clear overlap appeared to the left, but scrum half Rhys Evans had other ideas and a reverse pass inside wrong-footed everyone but Michael Poppmeier, who cantered over. Mahony’s conversion made it 25-6 at the interval.

Two things happened after the break that threatened to change the match. Firstly, Barking discovered a degree of commitment that had been strangely lacking in the first half. Secondly, Park appeared to have done something to offend the referee, Mr Turnill, because he proceeded to almost penalise them to the point of monotony. The rights and wrongs of this are never clear from off the pitch, but Park should be experienced enough to know that when this sort of thing threatens the last thing you do is to provide the ref with a running commentary on his performance: it is not an equal contest – only he has a whistle.

Park started the second period conceding two soft penalties, the second of which Owen slotted over to reduce the arrears. The visitors applied real pressure for the first time and were unlucky when a neat cross-kick to the winger bounced diabolically for them. They then drove at Park, got a penalty and a quick tap saw lock Collier go over. Owen’s conversion reduced the deficit to 25-14.

Park were unable to maintain the continuity they had enjoyed in the first half, but normality was restored, along with a bonus point, through a great individual try from full-back Ed Lewis Pratt, sprinting round the outside of the defence and then curving in under the posts to give Mahony an easy conversion for 32-14.

However, Barking were far from giving up and Park now seemed to be conceding penalties almost every time they went into contact. Owen converted one of these after 53 minutes for 32-17 and Park were briefly knocked out of their stride. They soon steadied the ship and made some good attacks of their own, but the penalty count was still a problem. Barking got close to the bonus point they desperately needed when they drove Park back over their own line for Everett to claim the try, converted by Owen for 32-24 and – deprived of the services of Jon Underwood, courtesy of a yellow card for a “team foul” – Park had to work hard for the last 10 minutes to protect their lead. But they never looked like losing it and definitely deserved their win overall. It is doubtful, though, that there will be an exchange of Christmas cards with Mr Turnill.

Park: Lewis-Pratt (Browne); Riley, Swords, Paul, Canty; Mahony; Evans; Huggett, Ritchie (Charlton), Frazier (Blom); Poppmeier, Forster (Corin); Underwood, Rodman, Count.

Park scorers: Ritchie (2T), Poppmeier (T), Lewis-Pratt (T), Mahony (2P, 3C).

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