By Stuart Clarke
Rosslyn Park head coach Alex Codling was left placing round pegs in square holes against Henley Hawks but insisted he never had any worries about doing so as Park kept their promotion hopes alive.
Despite the heavens opening on Saturday the Priory Lane pitch was deemed playable and Rosslyn Park’s game went ahead, although it did so without captain Hugo Ellis who was injured in the warm up.
And things went from bad to worse for head coach Codling as he lost centres Henry Staff and Paul Mackey in the first half, a re-shuffled pack seeing hooker Tom Cobb deployed as a winger.
Despite the setbacks Rosslyn Park still made light work of Henley, coming out 28-6 winners with Staff, Sam Shires and Tom Baldwin grabbing tries – Scott Sneddon adding 13 points with the boot.
And Codling was full of praise for his troops after they put their injury woes behind them to keep their SSE National League One promotion hopes alive.
“When we arrived to the ground in the morning the pitch was pretty much underwater so to get the game on was great,” said Codling, whose side stay second in the table.
“We played in pretty tough conditions but I thought it was an outstanding performance from the boys.
“I lost my skipper this morning and then I lost my two centres to injury within the first 30 minutes of the game. It just shows you our character that we managed to keep them scoreless for so long. I think it’s a great start to 2014.
“When you've got someone like Tom Cobb, who's a hooker, playing on the wing it's going to change the way you play.
“He's never played there before and to play the way he did I think it says everything about the team.”
After kickstarting 2014 in fine fashion Codling will now turn his attention to next weekend and a long trip to the north east to tackle Blaydon.
Try: Henry Staff goes through to score for Rosslyn Park Picture: David Whittam
And despite not knowing if his injured contingent will be back in time for the clash, Codling believes his side can head to Blaydon with all the pressure off.
“I'm chuffed with the win and we move on to a massive test next week at Blaydon,” Colding added.
“We'll hope to get the centres Henry Staff and Paul Mackey back for the Blaydon game but the games in National League One are attritional. We'll take stock of all the injuries in the week and see how we go into the game.
“We know they are an outstanding team and they've got a great record at home. There's no real pressure on us so we're just going to go up there and give it our best.”
SSE, proud sponsor of the National and Divisional Leagues, has £10,000 worth of mobile floodlights for your club to win. To find out how to enter go to www.SSERugby.com