Rosslyn Park take half the spoils from bruising clash at Henley Hawks
10:58am Monday 23rd September 2013 in Sport
By Bob Evans
In a bruising attritional affair at Dry Leas, Rosslyn Park shared the spoils with old rivals Henley Hawks after a 6-6 draw.
Despite the stalemate, the draw means Park remain unbeaten after three games in National League One.
A feature of the game was the rock solid defence of both teams, and while Park enjoyed a superiority in possession and territory Henley always looked dangerous on the break.
Park dominated play in the first quarter but stout defensive work by the home side kept them at bay.
As often happens though in these circumstances the side under the cosh took the lead.
Henley’s Danny Wells had given a warning after 10 minutes when his penalty from just inside the Park half narrowly missed, and two minutes later he made no mistake with his kick from a similar position.
The rather harsh yellow carding of Henley’s outside half Tom Allen after 16 minutes when he upended Paul Mackey heaped further pressure on the home side, but after 21 minutes their depleted but spirited efforts got near to the Park line for the first time and they were only kept at bay by a superb defensive scrum.
Park’s number eight, captain and talisman Hugo Ellis, was forced to leave the pitch with a painful looking hip injury after 25 minutes and shortly after Henley suffered a similar blow when, after lengthy treatment, prop Dave Manning was stretchered off with what looked like a suspected broken leg.
The half closed with more fierce exchanges near the Henley line and the Park side headed for the break with frustration and disbelief that they were still behind.
The second half opened with renewed Park pressure and a series of scrummages saw Henley finally give way when Sam Katz equalised with a penalty.
Park’s back division were now seeing more of the ball and perhaps the crucial moment in the game came after 14 minutes of the half.
Pressure from the pack led to a flowing movement in the backs ending in Dom Shabbo going over in the corner.
However the touch judge ruled that Dom’s foot in touch had come before the ball was grounded and the chance for the breakthrough had gone.
Not this time: Dom Shabbo was denied a try after a touch judge ruled his foot had gone into touch Picture: David Whittham
At the scrummage, Park were now dominating and after five successive scrums had been halted by some sort of Henley offence Katz slotted the inevitable penalty.
Extended pressure though failed to increase the lead and very much against the run of play Henry Staff was penalised for a yellow card offence and Wells equalised with the resultant long range penalty effort .
In the last 10 minutes, amazingly after the battering they had endured throughout, Henley willed themselves into a greater attacking impetus and Park supporters started to fear that despite all their team’s efforts they could still suffer defeat.
However, once more unyielding defence held firm and the final whistle came with the sides still locked in a draw.
Park host Blaydon this weekend.
Rosslyn Park: P. Hodgkinson; D.Shabbo, H.Staff, P.Mackey (rep: C.Broughton), D.Vincent: S.Katz, J.Gash (rep: M.Heeks); L.Ovens, A.Bellamy, L.Ward; J.Inglis, R.Boyle; L.Starling, S.Shires, H.Ellis (rep: D.Ball).
Reps not used: T.Cobb, J.Graham.
Rosslyn Park scorer: S.Katz 2pens.
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