ROSSLYN PARK 18-22 Richmond
SATURDAY 16 DECEMBER
By RHYS STRATTON
The 1st XV fell to defeat against Richmond after a last second winning try from Henry Cheeseman.
The 1st XV started the match in the ascendency and went 8-0 up early on thanks to a Patrick Kelly try and Josh Bragman penalty. Kelly opened the scoring when he shot out of the line to snuff out an attempted grubber kick in behind. After charging the kick down, he reacted fastest and hacked the ball up the pitch before gathering it in for his second try in two games against Richmond. Then, some ill-discipline by the visitors saw a succession of penalties awarded which allowed Park m to clear their lines and then enter the final third, eventually resulting in Bragman extending the lead from the tee. The 1st XV looked to capitalise on the early dominance and came close to scoring once more when Richmond found themselves pinned back in their own territory thanks in part to multiple penalties conceded at the scrum and at the breakdown. One of these penalties provided the platform for a powerful driving maul that rumbled its way down to the Richmond line and looked to have resulted in a score. However, the ball was instead recycled to the back which lead to the forwards attempting a pick-and-go that was unfortunately held up over the tryline.
Richmond opened their account after a little more than half-an-hour after finally relieving some pressure and exiting their own half as Captain Alex Post touched down from the back of a maul. Soon after, they then took the lead thanks to a successful Alex Burrage penalty that had also resulted in a yellow card for Arthur Ellis.
10 minutes into the second half, Richmond centre and former Park player Henry Cheeseman was also shown a yellow card for an intentional knock-on which prevented the 1st XV exploiting a dangerous overlap on the left wing. With the visitors down a man Park went in search of a score and came millimetres from retaking the lead through Benji Marfo. First, the pack got a shove on at a Richmond scrum on halfway to win one against the head. From this, Bragman looked to exploit the space in behind the visitors and put in a nearly inch-perfect kick as they scrambled back into defensive shape. Marfo got to the ball first, just as it crossed the tryline, but some excellent last-gasp defending meant he could not gather it in cleanly.
Midway through the second half, now back to a full complement of players, Richmond extended their lead when Lucas Schmid charged down a kick on halfway and ran it in. In response, Park pulled three points back through the boot of Luc Smith as Richmond tried to slow the ball down in their own half during some exciting phase-play by the 1st XV.
Then, with the game in the balance late on, another period of Park pressure resulted in yet another flurry of penalties against Richmond which eventually saw their Captain Alex Post sent to the bin. From this penalty, a rolling maul was set up and it rumbled across the line resulting a Jasper Cameron try that looked to have secured the win. However, with the clock well in the red, back-to-back penalties allowed Richmond to work their way into the final third before an outrageous chip into the dead-ball area was touched down by Henry Cheeseman to rescue a result for the visitors.
Referee: Iain Kiy
Tries: Kelly (6’), Cameron (74’)
Conversions: Bragman (75’)
Penalties: Bragman (14’), Smith (67’)
Yellow Cards: Ellis (36’)
Rosslyn Park: Cade, Cameron, Hay, Stevenson, Spencer, Bolwell, Ellis, Wrafter, Hiscocks, Bragman, Marfo, Gordon, Kelly, Addams, Smith
Replacements: Miller, Garvey, Martin, Fenley, Walker
Tries: Post (34’), Schmid (60’), Cheeseman (80’)
Conversions: Burrage (35’), Landray (80’)
Penalties: Burrage (37’)
Yellow Cards: Cheeseman (50’), Post (73’)
Richmond: Spring, Post, Mpiko, Monson, Murphy, Schmid, Benson, Jones, Burrage, Kaye, Hitchcock, Cheeseman, Obonna, O’Meara
Replacements: Maguire, Litchfield, Wakeling, Marsh, Landray
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Chinnor 21 – 7 Rams
Bishop’s Stortford 14 – 18 Blackheath
Darlington Mowden Park 29 – 19 Sale FC
Leicester Lions 25 – 20 Cinderford
Sedgley Park 32 – 26 Birmingham Moseley
Taunton Titans 29 – 24 Plymouth Albion
The final round of National One games in 2023 saw DMP, Leicester, Sedgley Park and Taunton all win at home with the Lions the only side of the four to not also secure a bonus point. Chinnor also secured a big win at home as they defeated Rams to leapfrog the Reading outfit into 1st on the league table. Elsewhere, Blackheath picked up a narrow win away from home against Bishop’s Stortford.
Up Next for Park is a trip to the midlands on the 13th of January as we will kick off the New Year with an away game against Birmingham Moseley.