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Home > News > Rosslyn Park 19 - Havant 18
Your News Rosslyn Park 19 - Havant 18

Park have too often been unlucky themselves to shed tears for plucky Havant, who hardly deserved to lose. An injury-time penalty from Richard Mahony, with Hav reduced to 13 men, saw Park home despite scoring one try to Havants three. Thus the Hampshire side are still not completely clear of relegation worries, while Park could now even finish in the top half of the table. The Rugby Gods can be fickle indeed.

Park started well enough, soon catching Havant offside but uncharacteristically Richard Mahony missed the kick. However, when the visitors again offended six minutes later, under pressure at a scrum, he redeemed himself from an identical position. At this stage Park had a near monopoly of territory and possession but Havant defended well and too often Park lacked penetration and ran into blind alleys.

Another penalty for offside after 15 minutes saw Mahony hit the crossbar. As so often happens when the dominant side fails to run up the points, the first time Havant strung together an attack they scored. Attacking up the right, they committed the defence before quickly spreading the ball to the left where full-back Molyneux came into the line to score. It looked so simple compared with Parks more laboured efforts, and seemed to encourage the visitors to compete on more even terms.

Soon Havant entered the Park 22 for a second time and Molyneux nearly went in again. Normal service was restored when Michael Poppmeier stole Havants throw and nearly put away Ed Lewis-Pratt, but the full-back was isolated. Havant set up a drop goal and fly half Ngapaku made it 3-8.

A great clearance kick from Lewis-Pratt put Park back in the visitors 22, then the same player nearly scored with a great run but lost control of the ball near the line. Park drove on and, in stopping them, Ngapaku earned himself 10 minutes in the sin bin. Mahony converted the penalty for 6-8 and Park looked to have regained control when a great run up the left by Nick Harlock saw the winger bundled into touch close to the line. Another Mahony penalty in injury time saw Park go into half time with a slender 9-8 lead.

Park started the second half again dominating the play but still lacking penetration against a keen defence. Too often movement was crab-like, and Park seemed unable to give their backs the opportunity to come onto the ball in space and at speed. Havant, from far less ball, were more incisive: a good raid earned a penalty, the ball was kicked to touch and the catch and drive saw them over the line and with a 9-13 lead.

Park came back and good driving earned them a penalty in the 22. Most spectators were urging a kick to touch for the catch and drive, but the decision was to kick for points and it looked a wrong call when Mahonys kick went narrowly wide.

Things looked bleak indeed for Park when lock Whittle nearly went over but knocked the ball forward having done the difficult bit. Havant came back again and the price of stopping them was a penalty and Nick Huggetts departure to the sin bin. Havant kicked to touch and drove over against the reduced pack to take a 9-18 lead.

To their credit, Park never stopped trying and were soon back in the Havant 22 where they got lucky when, after 75 minutes, Havant lock Whittle earned the displeasure of the referee and was sent to the bin. Lewis-Pratt had another good run and Park were driving at Havants reduced ranks but the visitors defended well. Park forced a scrum, Rhys Evans nearly got over and another visitor saw the yellow card. Mahony kicked to touch and against 13 men the pushover was a formality, Jon Underwood claiming the try.

Park drove at Havant again, but eventually lost control of the ball. The visitors tried to play up-your-jumper rugby to run down the clock and came very close to achieving just that, but in the fourth minute of injury time they conceded a far from easy penalty. Richard Mahony stayed cool under pressure and bisected the posts for 19-18. There was barely time for the kick off. Havant will feel robbed, and Park know from several similar experiences how that feels but didnt let it upset their celebrations.

Park: Lewis-Pratt; Riley (Browne, blood), Swords, Paul, Harlock; Mahony; Evans; Huggett (Charlton), Ritchie, Frazier (Blom); Poppmeier, Forster; Jones, Underwood, Gates.

Sub not used: Corin

Park scorers: Underwood (T), Mahony (4P, C)

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