2:11pm Tuesday 25th March 2014
By Sports reporter
Head coach Alex Codling believes Rosslyn Park’s soaring belief helped pull the team through at the death against Esher.
With six minutes left on the clock, Park were looking like losing ground in the title race, trailing by four points away to Esher.
But tries from Adam Bellamy, converted by Scott Sneddon, and Thomas Howe turned the tables in their favour to earn a invaluable 38-30 bonus-point victory.
It leaves them seven points behind leaders Doncaster Knights with the two set to lock horns next weekend.
And while acknowledging his side were made to work hard for their rewards against Esher, Codling admitted he was a proud man over their achievements so far this season.
“We have played Esher twice now, home and away and both have been similar score lines – both games are great adverts for National One rugby,” he said.
“We went ahead early in the second half and then we managed to shoot ourselves in the foot really with some silly penalties.
“But all credit to Esher, they came back and rightly went ahead. I think we scored two or three great tries at the end there and we had a huge amount of belief and managed to get the five points at the end there.
“I’ve been proud of the guys all year, I think it is an amazing achievement that we are second in the division.
“I am delighted of course. Before the start the boys were in great spirits and they have been a pleasure to work with all year and we are looking forward to enjoying these last four games now.”
All done: Thomas Howe scores Park’s final try
Esher had got the early points on the board through Thomas Whelan’s first penalty of the day but reduced to 14 following Ian Kench’s yellow-card, Park pounced through Samuel Shires with Sneddon adding the extras.
The game was proving to be a tight contest and with Whelan rattling off three more penalties in quick succession to Sneddon’s one, the hosts entered the break 12-10 up.
It was then the turn of Park to split the posts with two further Sneddon penalties before Kench got Esher’s first try on 49 minutes, converted by Whelan.
And after again trading penalties, Patrick O’Grady capitalised on Harry Broadbent’s yellow card to add a second Esher try ten minutes later.
Back came Park again, Charles Broughton and Shires touching down either side of Whelan’s sixth penalty before pushing again in the closing stages to secure the comeback.
It sets things up nicely for next weekend’s clash with Codling ready to continue their impressive season.
“Next week is just about enjoying the occasion. I think we deserve to test ourselves against the top of the league,” he added.
“We have still got a lot to improve on but you cannot fault the effort or desire and some of the tries at the end of the game today were exceptional.
“We have four more to go and whatever happens it has been an amazing season for all of us.”
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