Rugby Result: Hull Ionians 26 Rosslyn Park 44

Half dozen of the best complete Park's perfect September

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Four first half tries at Brantingham Park set Park on their way to a deserved bonus point win over a game, but ultimately outplayed, Hull Ionians side.

Ionians last foray into the third tier of the league pyramid was ultimately unsuccessful but, after bouncing straight back, they began the season with a win against Hartpury College and followed up by turning over Plymouth Albion in their previous home game, clearly demonstrating lessons had been learned.

Park boss James Buckland had done his homework, though, opting for a game plan that removed the element of frequent engagement with the home forwards, which paid dividends.

Skipper Hugo Ellis notched an early brace before he was forced off with just 15 minutes on the clock, but that laid the platform for Park to claim the bonus point before the interval. Further scores from Adam Field and Henry Robinson kept Ionians at arms length and Ed Milne’s second half brace made sure that Alex Crockett’s men took away just the one match point.

Adam Frampton was handed a full debut in the second-row, with Matt Hawke also given his first opportunity in Park colours. Hawke had been due to partner Paul Mackey in the centres but following the late withdrawal on Saturday morning of Sam Stanley, the Australian – who made the move from London Scottish in the close season – was handed the no.10 jersey. The versatile Andrew Henderson linked up with Mackey and Adam Field moved off the bench to complete the back three, Richard Boyle joining the replacements’ bench.

Following a rather frenetic start, Park drew first blood when Ellis powered over the line from close quarters. It wasn’t long before he had a second, flopping over from a lineout, but that would be his final contribution of the afternoon. A head injury in the first few minutes was of concern to the physio team, but the Park talisman should be fit for next week’s opening London derby of the campaign against Blackheath.

Greg Lound got Ionians off and running with a neat finish almost directly from the re-start, but two tries in ten minutes put Park out of sight and ultimately left Hull’s premier rugby union outfit with too much to do.

The first had even the home faithful standing to applaud. Hawke, whose range of passing was excellent throughout the afternoon, hit Henderson on a late run and he offloaded to Vincent in the blink of an eye, opening up the home defence. That engineered a two against one situation, and Henry Robinson was on hand to finish off a sweeping move straight from the training paddock.

Hull were, at that stage, beginning to struggle against the numbers in blue coming their way and they were picked off again just past the half hour mark. Hawke’s long, arching pass found the on-rushing Adam Field and the winger, always looking for work, swept past his man to race over unopposed.

Just when it seemed that Park would really open up, Ionians notched up a second score. A scrum 5m out from the Park line gave them the perfect platform and despite a big shove, led by Maurice Nwakor in the front-row, Ionians wrestled control. Adam Thomas raced down the blind-side channel, just about escaping the clutches of Mike Macfarlane to wrestle over.

That try evidently led to plenty of positive chat in the changing room at the interval, and the men from Humberside came out firing at the start of the second half.

The combative, all-action Will Foden was driven over from an effective rolling maul that split the Park close defence but, again, Ionians conceded another not five minutes later.

With Stephen Johnson in the bin for a high hit on Macfarlane, Park made their one man superiority up-front count, as they employed their familiar driving maul. With no Ellis to guide them across the whitewash, Ed Milne took control and the young medical student was pushed over for the visiting side’s fifth of the afternoon.

Phil Eggleshaw then saw yellow to kill off any further chance of an Ionians revival and when Milne added his second – nigh on identical to his first – just after the hour mark, that was that.

Alex Campbell did add a deserved fourth for his side after moving to the base of the scrum and at 38-26, a second bonus point was on the cards.

Tom Whiteley put paid to that, however, as his two penalties – coming within 90 seconds of one another right at the death – put Park out of sight and to the top of the table.

Full credit must go to an Ionians side who will be more than competitive upon their return to National One, and in testimony to how well Park played in attack, not many sides will go to Brantingham Park and score six tries.

Work still to be done defensively, but James Buckland and his staff will be quietly pleased with how the opening month has gone, not least with the number of new faces brought into the senior squad.

Tries: Lound, Thomas, Foden, Campbell
Convs: Lound (3)

Tries: Ellis (2), Milne (2), Field, Robinson
Convs: Whiteley (4)
Pens: Whiteley (2)

It’s back to the Rock this weekend, as local neighbours and rival Blackheath make the short journey across from their Rectory Field HQ. Kick-off for that one is at 3pm.

Hull Ionians: Michael Bateman; Daniel Booth, Luke Thundercliffe, Greg Lound, Sam Wilson; James Ferguson, Adam Thomas; Dave Laverick, Ali Thomson, James Elliott; Ed Falkingham, Alex Campbell; Joe Sanders, Will Foden (c), Phil Eggleshaw.

Replacements: Stephen Johnson, Danny Paul, Mark Wigham, Aquile Smith, Alex Benson.

Sin bin: Johnson (48), Eggleshaw (61).

Rosslyn Park: Henry Robinson; Adam Field, Andrew Henderson, Paul Mackey, David Vincent; Matt Hawke, Tom Whiteley; Maurice Nwakor, Adam Bellamy, Lovejoy Chawatama; Adam Frampton, Will Bowley; Ed Milne, Sam Shires, Hugo Ellis (c).

Replacements: Charlie Piper, Alex MacKenzie, Mike Macfarlane, Richard Boyle. Not used: Jack Gash.

Ref: Mr. Jamie Leahy


Mo Sher (@MSSher1)

September 29, 2015