Rosslyn Park 62-12 Henley Hawks
Exceptional Rosslyn Park FC completed an emphatic season-opening win over Henley Hawks on Saturday in a display full of verve, promise and physicality.
Despite only being 19-7 up at the break, Park romped away in the second half with Tom Whiteley coming off the bench to score a hat-trick of tries and Adam Field also scoring twice.
The win was marred though by an injury to starting outside-half Scott Sneddon, who departed after sustaining ankle damage within the first ten minutes.
It was Park’s first league appearance on the club’s new 4G pitch, opened before the game by Putney MP Justine Greening, and although they celebrated in style, coach James Buckland was not getting carried away.
He said: “We’ve always got things to work on. We scored some fantastic tries, but the boys had to work really hard for it.
“We didn’t see a lot of ball in the first half, Henley came out and put us under a bit of pressure.
“Nine, ten and Henry Robinson were pivotal. Mark Kohler was outstanding at getting the team on the front foot.
“Hopefully that game isn’t too expensive in terms of injuries.”
— Hugo Ellis (@hugo_ellis8) September 6, 2015
After weathering an early Henley storm, outstanding second-row Will Bowley charged down a clearance kick and showed good footballing skills to send Kohler over for the opening score.
Rosslyn Park’s imposing forward-pack continued to generate quick ball and substitute fly-half Sam Stanley pulled the strings before excellent footwork from full-back Robinson sent Jack Gash over, with Stanley added the extras to make it 14-0.
Henley struck through scrum-half Connor Murphy, but excellent link play from number eight Hugo Ellis put wing Dave Vincent over before half-time.
In the second half, Park’s forward-dominance wore down Henley resistance and a flurry of tries, along with a yellow card for Hawks second-row Dave Clements, saw the home team romp to victory.
As well as tries for Whiteley, who also kicked two conversions, and Field, there were scores from Ellis and Robinson.
The win put Park top of the table after one game and they travel to Plymouth, who beat Richmond 33-20, next Saturday.