ROSSLYN PARK 48-22 BISHOP’S STORTFORD
SATURDAY 4TH NOVEMBER
By RHYS STRATTON
The 1st XV got back to winning ways in impressive fashion at The Rock on Saturday with a victory over Bishop’s Stortford.
The match began with the visitors in fine form as they opened the scoring with a penalty from Dan Cole within the first 5 minutes, but it was Park who ultimately got the better of the early exchanges and took control of the first half. First, after a scrum penalty provided the platform to attack from a lineout in the final third, Charlie Walker crossed over on the right wing following a Patrick Kelly crash ball. Benji Marfo was next to get on the scoresheet as the winger capitalised on the space created by one of several stolen lineouts on the day to dot down on the opposite side. Riding a wave of momentum, the 1st XV continued to attack the visitors out wide and extended the lead with 3 more unanswered scores. After a dangerous Walker chip-and-chase on the right wing forced a knock-on and offside penalty against Stortford, a Will Burton pick-and-go from the back of the maul saw the second-row crash over.
Despite a yellow card being shown to Conrad Cade, a Josh Bragman penalty was followed by a second Walker try as the winger this time collected his own chip and outpaced the covering defence to secure a first-half bonus point. However, with a man advantage, Stortford finally managed to cross over as time expired in the half when Captain James Ayrton finished off a slick strike move from a midfield scrum.
Carrying forward their momentum from the end of the first half, Bishop’s Stortford narrowed the lead to 2-scores when scrum-half Connor Lloyd tapped-and-went from a penalty and crashed over. Under some serious pressure from the visitors, the Park defence held firm despite losing Henry Spencer to a yellow card during the goal-line stand and were able to relieve the pressure with a clearing kick. Buoyed by the strong defensive effort, the 1st XV went on the attack and soon levelled the playing numbers when Stortford’s Chris Smith was sent to the bin for an accumulation of penalties. Jacob Wrafter punished the infringement as he powered his way over after several phases on the Stortford try-line. Within the final 10 minutes, the hot-handed Walker completed his hat-trick to put the game out of reach. In a repeat of his try at the end of the first half, the winger found himself in space out wide and chipped the ball in behind before outrunning everybody to reel in the kick and dive over. Bishop’s Stortford did get a late consolation score through Will Rogers, but as they were chasing a bonus point try with the clock in the red, Walker rubbed salt in the wound when he scooped up a loose pass and dotted down for the 4th time.
Referee: Matthew Sharpe
Tries: Walker (10’, 36’, 71’, 79’), Marfo (19’), Burton (27’), Wrafter (67’)
Conversions: Bragman (11’, 20’, 37’, 69’, 80’)
Penalties: Bragman (34’)
Yellow Cards: Cade (29’), Spencer (51’)
Team: Cade, Piper, Hay, Burton, Spencer, Martin, Ellis, Wrafter, Baldwin, Bragman, Marfo, Gordon, Kelly, Walker, Stokes
Replacements: Miller, Wade, Bolwell, Hiscocks, Addams
Tries: Ayrton (38’), Lloyd (43’), Rogers (75’)
Conversions: Cole (39’), Lloyd (44’)
Penalties: Cole (4’)
Yellow Cards: Smith (66’)
Team: Hill, Jackson, Peck, Langworthy, Charter, Tierney, Jones, Rogers, Lloyd, Cole, Smith, Riddington, Ayrton, Stannard, Morris
Replacements: Rayment, Ramzanpour, Harrison, Bolton, Pope
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Birmingham Moseley 22 – 14 Sale FC
Plymouth Albion 28 – 15 Blackheath
Rams 36 – 41 Darlington Mowden Park
Richmond 7 – 24 Cinderford
Sedgley Park 28 – 20 Leicester Lions
Taunton Titans 21 – 53 Chinnor
In the 8th round of fixtures this weekend, Birmingham Moseley, Plymouth and Sedgley Park all joined Park in winning at home with Plymouth the only of the 3 to also pick up a bonus point. Elsewhere, Chinnor, Cinderford and DMP all ran out as winners away from home with DMP’s big bonus point win away at the league leaders being the standout performance.
Up Next for Park is a trip to Leicester to take on the 13th placed Lions.