Park 36 pts Cobham 13 pts – Park finish 3rd in Surrey Div 1
Well what a last match to finish our season with the U16s being allowed to show their skills on the wide open space offered by the first XV pitch. What both sides served up was a high quality game played at a frenetic pace through out intermittently switching between 7’s style and 15 man rugby with all 15 players on each side regularly getting their hands on the ball. Unfortunately for this match report this junior correspondent forgot he was in charge of the report in the absence of Tom Blake until it was nearly half time!
Park yet again fielded a changed starting XV but with the fast hard ground suiting the Park style there was a hopeful air before kick off but it soon became clear that Cobham had not turned up just to make up the numbers as wave after wave of Park attacks were repelled, often with searing counter attacks. Both Austin and Vantage saw plenty of ball on the wings and made good ground but the Cobham defence were up to the task.
The front row of Hume Kendall, Isaac & Russell were dominating their oppo and as a result the first half saw no less than four scrums taken against the head, all of this was aided by the power house 2nd row of Shiundu and Heidrich.
It was Park who scored first when after a series of quality off loads and some good rucking O’Donnell worked an inside pass to the try scoring machine that is Alfie Dudman Jones who wriggled free from his tackler to score under the posts. The ever reliable Manley just missed adding the extras.
Injury to the hard tackling Sirmon saw Glover enter the fray in the back row and Fernyhough’s swap with Isaac ensured there was no easing off of the front row dominance.
The Park pressure at this point was relentless with only last ditch handling errors or penalty transgressions providing relief for Cobham. Skipper Theo Brader Tan, restored to what is probably his best position at open side flanker, was at this point rampant and at the heart of every thing good Park were doing in attack and defence. At times it was taking four Cobham players to stop Theo which, when the ball was recycled quickly, provided plenty of space for the backs.
It was another Brader Tan surge which set up the second try – this time he was assisted by the driving force that is Thorben Heidrich who helped drive Theo through three defenders and set up fast ruck ball for the backs. Fast hands provided the space for Dudman Jones to skip under the posts for his and Park’s 2nd try. Manley drilled the extras so Park were now 12-0 up.
It is debatable whether Park eased off at this point or it was just that Cobham had settled down to the task in hand but either way the game became more balanced and Park began to concede penalties and as the half time whistle blew Park had been begged back to 12-6.
The 2nd half started with Harry Glover back on but at outside centre, giving the older members (pensioners) in the crowd a chance to reminisce when they last saw a majestic Glover playing centre in a Park shirt.
A refreshed front row now including Savage and Bright still ruled over Cobham as the mobility of the forwards continued to impress. The pack continued to provide a platform for Manley and Wallace at half back to pull the strings and set up a series of attacks from which Glover broke the defensive line and out paced the cover to score. Manley again added the extras with a sweetly struck conversion.
Cobham reverted to using the boot which on most occasions the ball was returned with interest via the lively Meltzer but it was not long before his legendary defensive skills were required as three vital one on one try-saving tackles were required to keep Cobham at bay.
Cobham’s endeavours, particularly those of their live wire fly half were eventually rewarded with a converted try as a result of a rare burst of cohesive play from their pack but this only served to double Park’s resolve.
LaFaurie, who had yet again worked tirelessly at No 8 all game, drove the ball across the Cobham 10 metre line. Wallace darted through a gap to offload to the supporting Sirmon who in turn fed Glover. Glover popped inside to Shiundu and at this point the entire game appeared to come to a standstill. Victor dummied left then right without moving forward and as a result the entire defence appeared to disappear. Being a polite Park player, Victor knew it was rude to refuse such a gift so he galloped through the colossal gap and only had the fullback to beat. With support available either side, all it took was for Victor to adjust the ball in readiness for passing for the fullback to be sold another dummy and for Victor to continue his stroll under the posts for a remarkable try. Manley converted to make the score a more respectable 26-13 and the try scoring bonus point was in the bag.
Demonstrating the squad’s strength in depth the hard-working wingers Vantagiatto and Austin were replaced by Cassa and Tomasso who were immediately involved in the action. The rock-solid Meltzer was also replaced at fullback by Tyrie who did not put a foot wrong.
The hard work which the forwards had put in during the first half and the continued dominance of the scrum was now beginning to show and in particular Brader-Tan and LaFaurie were at the heart of everything that was happening up front. The cohesive effort from the forwards was soon rewarded again when they drove Sirmon over for a try to make it 31-13.
With Tomlinson now on in the back row and Edgar having replaced the sprightly Wallace at scrum-half, Park were pushing for one last score. Now if the team were keen for another try, one player in particular was very keen – the two try Dudman-Jones who, in his last game of the season, was seeking his umpteenth hat trick. Although Alfie has always been a good team player, the extra look of determination in his eye when the referee announced last play of the game was something to behold. Needless to say Park won the scrum and the ball was fed out wide to Dudman-Jones where there did not appear to be a natural try scoring opportunity – not that this has ever bothered Alfie previously. Much to the joy of the crowd and his team mates the single-minded tunnel-visioned run/drive/lunge by Alfie was enough (just) to make the line.
It was a fitting end to see the team’s leading try scorer run in the last points of our season and make the final score 36-13. Although a 6 try to 1 victory may appear to have been a stroll, this was far from the case, as Cobham were a very decent side. Park had to work for every try they scored and were warmly praised by the Cobham players and supporters afterwards as the best running rugby side in the League.
A good end to the season and a pleasure to watch the team play in true Rosslyn Park style on the 1st XV pitch.
Squad: Hume-Kendall, Savage, Bright, Fernyhough, Isaac, Russell, Shiundu, Heidrich, Sirmon, LaFaurie, Brader Tan (c), Tomlinson, Wallace, Edgar, Manley, O’Donnell, Dudman Jones, Glover, Vantagiatto, Austin, Cassa, Tomasso, Meltzer & Tyrie
Other league match reports here.
Rosslyn Park U16’s (the ’95-’96 year group) are a happy bunch who play a free-flowing style of rugby in both the teams we run from our squad. We have a winning attitude but not a win at all costs approach.
We are a very inclusive squad with players drawn from over 20 different schools and have helped some of our players gain recognition at County level with Middlesex, Surrey & Berkshire but at the same time we have quite a number of players who do not play rugby at school but have played with us on the hallowed turf at Twickenham!
We regularly attract new players each & every year and consequently we are able to welcome newcomers (players & parents alike) whether you want to join us pre-season, at the start of the season, mid season or thereafter.
Although we play in the Surrey U16’s league structure we have friendly fixtures against the likes of Bath, Wasps, Medway, Ealing, etc in addition to having an excellent touring tradition having previously visited Rome, Cornwall, Ireland and Nottingham. We are building towards a South America tour in the summer of 2014.
The U16’s play their home matches and train in Richmond Park (a 12 min walk down Priory Lane from the Clubhouse) on the Polo Field by Sawyer’s Hill (click here for map). Parking is available next to Roehampton Gate or by Sheen Gate (much less congested & therefore recommended). Directions to RPFC clubhouse for those that need them are on this web site (go back to the main page then to the Information tab then directions – (click here for map)
Key contact details – coaches:
Martin Wallace: 07836 531 005 (email@example.com)
Dhiren Patel: 07979 917 299 9 (firstname.lastname@example.org )
Matthew Austin: 07810 155 401
Gerry Manley: 07973 834 535
Key contact details – administration & age group manager
Tracey Brader Tan 07976 298 592 (email@example.com)
Key contact details – Hospitality for home matches
Helen Wallace 07979 696 636 (firstname.lastname@example.org)