MATCH REPORT: Rosslyn Park vs Leicester Lions

ROSSLYN PARK 35-7 LEICESTER LIONS

SATURDAY 9 MARCH

By RHYS STRATTON

The 1st XV swept aside the challenge from a lively Leicester Lions side at The Rock on Saturday to make it 3 wins on the bounce.

A tight first 20 minutes saw Park in the ascendency, but the team were unable to convert that early pressure into points thanks to some stout defence from the visitors. Cracks finally began to show when a flurry of penalties forced Leicester deep into their own territory and a powerful driving maul soon punished the ill-discipline as Isaac Miller crossed over. A second try quickly followed as the 1st XV doubled the lead thanks to a sumptuous offload by Matt Gordon which found the hands of Joe Luca Smith who duly dotted down.

Following this, Leicester proceeded to pile on the pressure in search of their first try, but multiple steals at the lineout meant that, for a while, they struggled to get over the final hurdle and cross the whitewash. Eventually, back-to-back penalties allowed James Stubbs to tap-and-go on the 5m which saw the scrumhalf squeeze through a gap just before half time.

In the second half, the 1st XV began to flex their attacking muscles as they started to string the phases together, resulting in a phenomenal score just 5 minutes in. The passage saw multiple big carries push Leicester back and lightning quick ball soon allowed Smith to exploit a gap on the left wing before chipping it back inside to Ewan Fenley who coolly gathered in the ball and dotted down. The lead was then extended once more when captain Arthur Ellis rode another powerful Park maul over the Leicester line.

Another positive spell for the visitors followed, but despite Park being reduced to 14 when Gregor Gillanders was shown a yellow card with 10 minutes to go, it was the 1st XV who picked up the next score. After a brilliant defensive stand deep in the 22, a thumping clearing kick pinned Leicester back in their own half, forcing a scrappy exit. Another clinical Park attack followed as the 1st XV took advantage of the field position through POTM Max Craven who touched down before converting his own score to remain perfect from the tee on the day and putting the exclamation mark on a fantastic team performance.

Referee: Neil Sweeney

ROSSLYN PARK

Tries: Miller (21’), Smith (24’), Fenley (45’), Ellis (52’), Craven (75’)
Conversions;:Craven (22’, 25’, 46’, 53’, 76’)
Penalties: N/A
Yellow Cards: Gillanders (69’)

Team: Cade, Miller, Hay, Martin, Gillanders, Hosking, Ellis, Bolwell, Fenley, Craven, Marfo, Gordon, Stanton, Walker, Smith

Replacements: Cameron, Pieterse, Wade, Stevenson, Trimble

LEICESTER

Tries: Stubbs (36’)
Conversions: Lewis (37’)
Penalties: N/A
Yellow Cards: N/A

Team: Williams, Taylor, Dawson, Coulson, Ward, Johnson, Murdoch, Cairns, Stubbs, Lewis, Sterland, Bouchier, Hamilton, Satala-Navlivou, Patrick

Replacements: Roberts, Thompson, Rudkin, Myall, Ogden

AROUND THE LEAGUE:

Richmond 22 – 13 Blackheath
Birmingham Moseley 26 – 14 Cinderford
Plymouth Albion 5 – 26 Chinnor
Rams 19 – 36 Sale FC
Sedgley Park 31 – 34 Darlington Mowden Park
Taunton Titans 26 – 45 Bishop’s Stortford

This week in National One saw Richmond and Birmingham Moseley join Park in picking up wins at home as they emerged victorious against Blackheath and Cinderford respectively. Elsewhere, Chinnor, Sale, DMP and Bishop’s Stortford all won away from home with Sale’s victory against promotion hopefuls, Rams, serving to hand Chinnor a 5-point lead in the title race headed into the final 5 games of the season.

Up Next for Park is a lengthy trip up North to take on 6th placed Darlington Mowden Park.