Park, Come Out on Top
By Ian Geering
A difficult afternoon for the travelling Crow's, but never-the-less 2 valuable points gained from the encounter.
Match Report by Rick Howe.
It took fully eighty minutes for Crowborough’s pride and determination to kick in, and with the clock seconds away from turning red, Crowborough were awarded a penalty on their own 22 with one final chance to turn this four point game.
Earlier in the afternoon, Park House, who had had a dreadful start to their season, but clawed their way back up the league with some impressive recent results, stunned the visitors with a converted try within two minutes, when their impressive #7 taking quick ball exploited some poor central defensive alignment. 7-0
Crowborough then had their own chance of opening their account when Zeb Kisbee rounded the blind side of the scrum on the Park 22, and avoiding the referee, sidestepped the remaining defender, only for the referee to blow up for a ‘Boro scrum!
A second opportunity moments later saw Chris Yates enter the line taking the ball from Gary Stevens, and whilst straightening the line fed Tom Boddy, but Connor Hand overran the try scoring pass as the ball dribbled harmlessly into touch.
Incredibly only 10 minutes of the game had lapsed, when Andy Orchard eventually got ‘Boro onto the score sheet, when Bertie Boast broke left drawing in the back row defence before off-loading to the fast arriving Andy Orchard who sprinted the remaining fifteen metres to score under the posts, narrowing the deficit to 7-5. Unfortuately Chris Yate’s simple kick thundered off the posts but stayed out.7-5.
On 20 minutes, Park went further ahead when from a lineout five metres out from the ‘Boro line the tall Park jumpers secured the ball then proceeded to drive the normally solid ‘Boro unit back over their line for an unconverted try 12-5
From the kick off Alex Purnell who was having an excellent afternoon leading from the front, latched onto a loose ball setting up a ruck on the Park 10 metre line. Zeb Kisbee secured quick ball that was transferred by Bertie Boast to Chris Yates and Tom Boddy before Connor Hand managed a finger tipped catch to secure the ball before going over to score an unconverted try 12-10.
For the first time Crowborough got their noses in front with two Chris Yates penalties that took the half time score to 12-16.
Immediately after the break Park House came straight back regaining the advantage with another unconverted try down the right hand side that exploited an absence of defenders in the 15 metre channel.17-16
The see-sawing scores continued with a well taken Bertie Boast try, who exploited a gap in the 10/12 channel to score under the posts with Chris Yates adding the two points. 17-23
However ‘Boro just could not capitalise on their advantage and extend the margin beyond the two scores that were needed to kill of the Park spirited resistance, and once more the outside defence was exposed allowing the prop to crash over for the unconverted try. 22-23
With 15 minutes to go the Park number eight who received several minutes of treatment for a leg injury, was able to be part of the next score, sprinting to take the final pass although to many spectators eyes the ball appeared to be dropped in the act of scoring, however the referee, having considered it for a moment, then awarded the try that was successfully converted.29-23
Once more six points behind and the clock running down Crowborough transgressed on the Park 10 mtr line and the clearance went long finishing on the ‘Boro 5 mtr line. From the lineout Park took the catch and in a déjà vu moment, proceeded to drive the ‘Boro pack over the line for an unconverted try, taking ‘Boro out of losing bonus point territory and less than 5 minutes remaining. 34-23
Once more ‘Boro attacked deep into Park territory and keeping the ball alive the pack recycled the ball forcing the Park defence to back-peddle, and just when it looked as if the onslaught had been stemmed Nick Hill powered through to score the fourth and bonus point try on the line which Chris Yates converted to take the score to 34-30.
From the kick off an anxious Park side transgressed .The referee indicated that time was almost up. Knowing that a lineout would be a lottery, a quick tap penalty was taken and the ball spun wide. As the move broke down the clock ran into the red and another penalty awarded. Unable to go for touch, and a shot at goal not being enough, ‘Boro once more took a quick tap and drove over the 22, and with several pick and drives approached the Park 5 metre line. If there was any justice this would have had a happy ending as a reward for effort. However ‘Boro transgressed and the resulting penalty brought the game to an end at 34-30 with ‘Boro picking up two bonus points.
A win this week could have put ‘Boro in 6th place on 52 points , but instead Crowborough finish this week in 7th position on 49 points, and by virtue of their win, Park House now climb to 8th just 1 point behind ‘Boro. Crowborough simply must gain positive results in their remaining three matches. Three wins could see them challenging for a top four spot , conversely three losses could see them flirting with the basement.