Rosslyn Park 33 Old Elthamians 20
Gavin Lach bemoaned his side’s failure to stick to their game plan in the first half as battling Elthamians ended 2019 with a defeat to their London rivals, writes Jon Edwards.
High flying Park scored three tries in the opening 40 minutes to take a commanding 19-3 interval lead at the Rock and although Elthamians fought back strongly in the final quarter with three tries of their own, the damage had already been done.
“We didn’t really get started,” OEs director of rugby said. “We didn’t follow the gameplan we’d practised all week and kicked away far too much possession in the first half.
“I said to the boys at half-time that I thought we could genuinely come back if we kept the ball in hand. We fought back well in the second half and I’m proud of the effort we showed but ultimately we didn’t play well enough in the first half to deserve to win the game.”
Park fly-half Craig Holland was the architect behind Elthamians’ downfall, scoring the opening try of the game on 14 minutes after an unfortunate deflection gifted the ball to the home side, and kicking four conversions.
Park were clinical in punishing Elthamian errors during the remainder of the first period, flanker Dan Laventure and captain Hugo Ellis both forcing their way over from close range from driven lineouts.
When Ellis drove over for his second try within two minutes of the restart to give Park the four-try bonus point and a 26-3 lead, Elthamians were left with a mountain to climb.
To their credit they mounted a brave fightback, scrum-half Ollie Claxton winning the race to a loose ball for OEs’ first try of the afternoon on 56 minutes, only to see Park reply in kind just four minutes later when centre Jo Munro jinked his way over following strong work from his forwards.
When home full-back Henry Robinson was yellow carded for a technical offence on 70 minutes it sparked a late Elthamians onslaught. Captain Hamish Barton was twice driven over the whitewash from lineouts on the home 22 to give the visitors a glimmer of hope.
However, it was too little too late, as the Park forwards ran down the clock to secure a deserved victory and end the year in style.
Tries: Holland 14 Laventure 29 H Ellis 39 43 Munro 60
Cons: Holland 15 30 44 61
Tries: Claxton 56 Barton 67 76
Cons: Bryant 57
Pens: Bryant 24
Old Elthamians: Lo Brown, Hoston, Kotecky, Eastwell, Goble, Bryant, Claxton; Concu, Saunders, Hay, Flashman, Parker, Ledger, Barton, Kovacic. Subs: Le Brown, Morris, McGeekie, Morgan, A Brown.
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