Rugby Result: Rosslyn Park 35 Macclesfield 12
Park ties up match in eight minute blitz
Park made a poor start, losing an opening bout of aerial ping pong, messing up at the line-out and then hoofing the ball out on the full to concede a throw within their own 22. Thus encouraged, the visitors looked quite lively and pressed for the first few minutes.
When eventually Park broke out, through full back Nev Edwards and then a hack on, they looked a different class immediately forcing a scrum on the visiting 5 metre line. That opportunity was wasted, but successive penalties took Park deep into the 22, from where they got over but the referee was unsure as to the grounding of the ball. From the restart scrum the home pack exerted immense pressure, Macclesfield collapsed and a Penalty Try was awarded. Sneddon added the extras for 7-0 on 9 minutes.
Straight from the restart kick, Park failed to field the ball. Macc winger Matt King caught it, sped up the wing and no one managed to lay a finger on him before he placed the ball down in the corner. A superb piece of opportunism, but awful defending. A super conversion attempt by fly half Tom Eaton rebounded off the far post, but it was 7-5 on 10 minutes.
Park replied almost immediately. A powerful run from centre Kiba Richards went to the heart of the Macc defence, where winger Charles Broughton was loitering with intent. Broughton cut a superb diagonal to cross the line wide of the posts on the right, Sneddon converting for 14-0 on 13 minutes.
Park were soon back on the attack and won a penalty. It was immediately taken as a quick tap by scrum half Jack Gash. Macc winger King appeared to be unaware that a penalty had been awarded and tackled Gash as he was taking the tap, earning himself a yellow card. Correct by the letter of the Law, but it appeared a tad harsh if it really was a genuine error. Park still took a tap and skipper Sam Shires went in for the try. Sneddon’s conversion made it 21-5 on 17 minutes.
Macclesfield’s heads visibly dropped and, after a bright start, they were no longer really an attacking force. They were, however, pretty good at spoiling Park’s moves. In that regard, the home side were also their own worst enemies in terms of dropped and mis-directed passes, and losing possession in contact.
It was not until 32 minutes that their efforts were rewarded with the bonus point try they desperately needed. A penalty was propelled to the corner. The initial drive did not quite work, but the ball was recycled and Edwards came on to it to saunter in out wide, running round closer to the posts to ease Sneddon’s conversion for 28-5.
Park were nearly in again before the interval, a splendid run from Richards being finally stopped near the line and his pass from the tackle being ruled as forward.
Park made a really bright start to the second half when a super move sent lock Richard Boyle galloping away and, when caught, he offloaded to winger Adam Field and no one was going to catch the Welsh Sevens International as he streaked away. Replacement fly half Tom Whelan converted for 35-5 on 42 minutes.
However, what promised to be a second half try-fest proved to be nothing of the sort. Park tried to put together some decent moves, but seemed to be accident prone. A prime example being a superb run through by Richards who, having done the difficult bit, and with the line at his mercy, simply dropped the ball. Add in some pretty effective spoiling from Macclesfield and it became something of a stalemate, with the emphasis at times on stale.
However, when it came to spoiling, no one was the equal of the match referee who appeared unaware that spectators had not paid to watch him give interminable unnecessary lectures to the players and to take an eternity to set scrums and line-outs.
As so often happens when one side has most of the play but isn’t scoring, Park eventually coughed up a gift of an interception. Macc lock Dave Marwick was the man in receipt of the pass and when he was about to be caught, King popped up at his shoulder to sprint to the line. Eaton converted for 35-12 on 72 minutes.
Park tried to send their supporters home with a final try, and it looked ‘on’ with a good attack through the middle from the lively Richards, taken on by Boyle to within 15 metres of the posts, but when there was no one in support and he was penalised.
Macclesfield have had a poor season and never forced Park to raise their game, in a match that was not really allowed to flow. However, five points and the news of a home defeat for Coventry that sees Park go six points clear in second place will have sent their supporters home happy enough.
February 22, 2015