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Home > News > Rosslyn Park 24 - DIngs Crusaders 17
Your News Rosslyn Park 24 - DIngs Crusaders 17

For the second time this season Dings Crusaders effectively stopped Park from playing. Although Park enjoyed a clear territorial advantage, in terms of possession the Bristol side at least held their own and were extremely effective at harrying and frustrating anything the home side tried to put together. It didnt start like that. Park had

nearly all the early play and had Dings well on the back foot. Two early penalties stroked over by Ross Laidlaw gave the home side a 6-0 cushion from which to set about scoring the tries they needed to enhance their promotion challenge. That all changed in the 22nd minute when Dings fashioned a super break up the left, only a last ditch tackle by Jon Underwood preventing the score. Having reached the Park try-line, Dings were in no mood to take a backward step and their pack revelling in the muddy conditions launched drive after drive at the home defence. Park defended magnificently for almost five minutes without a break but eventually the pressure told and Dings were able to whip the ball to their right where centre Sam Caven went over for a hard-earned score. The conversion was missed, but the visitors visibly grew in confidence. The match was still being played predominantly in their territory but they were now denying Park the sort of quality ball they needed for the running and passing game that has been the hallmark of their success. A penalty just inside Dings half saw Laidlaw stretch the lead to 9-5 after 28 minutes, and the best move thus far saw Park gain a penalty in front of the posts nine minutes later. The fly half gratefully accepted another 3 points. When Dings came back at Park it was Laidlaw who got a highly effective boot on the ball to peg the visitors back in their own 22. However, the chance to get one of the four tries they needed for a bonus point was lost when Park knocked on and it was 12-5 at the interval. Park started the second half with great determination, but Dings raised the art of sheer obduracy to a tactical ploy and the frustration of the home side began to show in the concession of a couple of cheap penalties. However, after 16 minutes they broke the deadlock, following a penalty that was hoofed to the corner by Laidlaw. The pack lay siege to the Dings line, sucking in defender after defender and then spread it wide where winger James Strong bulldozed through at pace to score. The angle defeated even Laidlaws attempted conversion but it was now 17-5. Dings were in no mood to surrender, continued to work hard and their efforts were rewarded fifteen minutes later when a good move sent centre Tim Bagg through under the posts, Tom Lukjaniec adding a conversion for 17-12 putting the visitors back within a score. Park were stung into action and replied with a superb individual try by Marc Sweeney, receiving the ball just outside the 22 he ran straight as a die using all his speed and strength to get over. Laidlaw added a very difficult conversion for 24-12. There was no realistic prospect of Park scoring two more. Dings were tiring, but still giving everything and when with the very last move of the match they were awarded a penalty, took a quick tap and plunged over to score, it would be a hard heart indeed that begrudged them the bonus point. In terms of pure entertainment this was a poor match. In the context of Parks promotion aspirations it looks like a point lost, but that is surely to under-rate how difficult it is to break down a team like Dings playing in their ideal conditions; the obsession with bonus points should not disguise the fact that Park won a match that could easily have been a banana skin.

Park: Davies; Strong, Sweeney, Jewell (ODriscoll), Lindsey-Hague;

Laidlaw; Barr (Chilten); Huggett (Lahiff), Ritchie, Collier; Quigley

(Jones), Pape; Gates, Underwood, Lock.

Sub (did not play): Tauialo

Park scorers: Strong (T), Sweeney (T), Laidlaw (4P, C)

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