RAMS 31-20 ROSSLYN PARK
SATURDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER
By RHYS STRATTON
The 1st XV fell to defeat on Saturday as Rams continued their unbeaten start to the season.
In a back-and-forth first half, the hosts opened the scoring early through Zach Clow as they worked the ball to the winger following an attacking lineout from a Park clearance. Park responded with a similar score just minutes later when Charlie Walker found space down the right-hand side following a lineout on the opposite touchline. He coolly beat the Rams drift defence, cutting inside a would-be tackler and dotting down. Rams reestablished their 7-point lead on 20 minutes when James McRae rode a driving maul over the Park line.
Soon after, Tom Wilstead narrowed the gap from the tee before Matt Williams fished off a scintillating passage of play to take the lead. Some brutal carrying in midfield meant the Rams defence had become stretched and Benji Marfo and Matt Gordon combined to find a gap and shoot through it before the latter fed the trailing Williams for the try. However, a yellow card for Charlie Walker and another driving maul (this time converted by the hooker Max Hayman) meant Rams retook the lead heading into the break.
A heartbreaking momentum shift occurred early in the second period after Park had spent the opening 3 minutes of the half deep in Rams territory and were looking increasingly likely to score. Instead of the passage resulting in a Park score, the ball squirted out of one of the breakdowns on the try-line before being hoofed downfield. An extremely unfortunate bounce meant that the opening try scorer, Clow, beat a retreating Wilstead to the ball and ran it in from halfway. Rams added a third try from the maul and extended their lead as Hayman secured a brace on the day.
In the final quarter, it was Park who had the edge as the team pursued a late comeback. After some promising phase-play in midfield, a clever kick in behind the defence forced a poor clearance from just outside the opposition 22 that went straight into touch. From this platform, several more dynamic carries saw the ball worked down inside the Rams 5m line before a Sunni Jardine snipe from the base of a ruck saw the substitute scrum half dive over under the posts.
The comeback wasn’t to be, however, as the league leaders kept Park’s attack at bay and held on for the win.
Referee: Matthew Sharpe
Tries: Clow( 8’, 43’), McRae (19‘), Hayman (32’, 56’)
Conversions: Honey (9’, 33’, 44’)
Team: Marris, Hayman, Baker, C. Stapley, Swain, Collis, McRae, R. Stapley, Hoadley, Honey, Clow, Humberstone, Jones, Kalling-Smith, Bird
Replacements: Kidd, McDonnell-Roberts, Atkins, Rossiter, Cole
Tries: Walker (14’), Williams (25’), Jardine (61’)
Conversions: Wilstead (62’)
Penalties: Wilstead (23’)
Yellow Cards: Walker (36’), Garvey (74’)
Team: Garvey, Piper, Hay, Martin, Gillanders, Bolwell, Ellis, Wrafter, Baldwin, Wilstead, Marfo, Gordon, Williams, Walker, Smith
Replacements: Miller, Cilia, Laventure, Jardine, Stokes
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Birmingham Moseley 35 – 22 Taunton Titans
Blackheath 43 – 13 Darlington Mowden Park
Cinderford 15 – 12 Sale FC
Plymouth Albion 45 – 21 Leicester Lions
Richmond 50 – 40 Bishop’s Stortford
Sedgley Park 27 – 21 Chinnor
Week 4 saw every single home side secure a win with only Cinderford and Sedgley Park failing to pick up a bonus point whilst doing so. Newly promoted Blackheath produced a clinical display to beat DMP by a 30-point margin whilst Richmond emerged victorious from an astonishing match against Bishop’s Stortford that saw the two sides combine to score 14 tries and tally 90 points between them.
Up Next for Park is a home fixture against the high-flying, newly-promoted Sedgley Park. Match tickets can be purchased online here.