By Chris Bailey
Rosslyn Park head coach Alex Codling is convinced his side possess a newfound sense of maturity after a nail-biting 19-18 victory over Coventry took them to within three points of National League One’s top spot.
After conceding an early penalty Park never looked back, Scott Sneddon collecting 14 points off the kicking tee while wing Charles Broughton stormed over in the first half.
A 69th minute try from Coventry’s Mark Kohler threatened to ruin Park’s away day but they clung on to secure a vital victory.
The result meant Park hold breathing space over third-placed Coventry while gaining ground on the Knights, who suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Wharfedale.
And though Codling would not be drawn into setting his sights on toppling Doncaster, he admits the performance was the right way to bounce back after losing on their travels to the leaders last week.
“The boys were fantastic,” he said. It was a real response from the Doncaster game, which we were desperately disappointed to lose as we hadn’t done a lot wrong. To come back from that showed a huge amount of heart.
“There was especially a really big effort at the end of the game where we controlled possession for the last five minutes of the game to make sure they couldn’t score – it showed a lot of improved maturity.
“There had been a few issues with that in the last couple of games but the way we handled it against Coventry was as good as you’ll ever see.
“We have a lot of injuries but all the boys came in and did a great job, Will Bowley was immense and Alex Lundberg is only a teenager but stood up really well in the scrum as a prop against what is a very powerful Coventry pack – he is definitely one to watch.”
Next week’s game against Hull Ionians will represent the halfway stage in SSE National League One and with 11 wins out of a possible 14, Codling insists he could not ask for much more from his troops.
But he warned against underestimating the I’s – who are anchored at the bottom by ten points – who he believes are slowing finding their feet in the division.
“The season’s been fantastic so far,” Codling added. “Except for 20 minutes against Fylde they have been absolutely cracking.
“I’ve been blessed in my eight years as a coach to have worked with a lot of talented groups but this one is right up there with them.
“A lot of them work all week in the city and the effort they put in for their rugby club is inspiring to work with.
“Everyone’s predictions would be for us to turn up and roll over Hull Ionians.
“But they showed that they can play by putting up 25 points after 40 minutes of pressure from Esher and they will be coming here threatening to do exactly the same as well. They desperately need the points.
“They came up last year and it’s always tough getting promoted, the competition is a whole different prospect and it takes time to adapt and play at the same level for 80 minutes but the more they play the more they will learn.”
SSE, proud sponsor of the National and Divisional Leagues, has £10,000 worth of mobile floodlights for your club to win. To find out how to enter go to www.SSERugby.com