Rosslyn Park return to third in National 1 after this bonus-point away win at Moseley.

But a sensational second-half comeback by the home side – aided and abetted by injuries to key Park players – made them fight every inch of the way in the second half.

Park took the lead on 7 minutes following a line-out on the right. The ball was quickly whipped across to the other flank where top-scorer Benji Marfo added to his season’s tally. Fly half Harry Leonard added an excellent wide conversion for 7-0.

Moseley came back at the visitors and won a penalty just outside the 22. Full-back Mike Penn claimed the 3 points rather than attempt anything more adventurous.

Park returned to the attack and a Leonard penalty restored Park’s lead at 10-3 on 15 minutes.

The visitors continued to press. The breakthrough came on 27 minutes when winger Marfo streaked up the left, kicked ahead and was blatantly obstructed following up his kick. Penn was sent to the sin-bin, the penalty kicked to the corner and Moseley had no answer to Park’s controlled rolling maul, number 8 Hugo Ellis touching down and Leonard converting for 17-3.

Three minutes later it was Park’s other flying winger, Bam Bam Fadahunsi, who streaked up the right before passing inside for flanker Jack Barnard to score, Leonard adding the extras for 24-3.

Almost from kick off, Park launched another piercing attack. It was Fasdahunsi again who made the crucial break, passing on for prop Ali Wade to sprint in from 25 metres out for the 4-try bonus on 32 minutes, Leonard again obliging with the conversion for 31-3.

With Moseley restored to full complement the all-out assault still continued as Park massed on the home line. Moseley defended well but eventually the pressure told and hooker Karl Gibson got over. Leonard added the extras for 38-3 at the interval.

If Moseley had only pride to play for in the second half then they showed they were bursting with it, though in truth Park were not helped by injuries that saw experienced tight-head prop Stuart Maguire and full-back Russ Weir have to leave the fray with injuries.

Moseley threw everything at Park from the start, gaining a penalty on 46 minutes which they hammered to the corner and then, from the lineout, replacement Aeden Maloney crashed over in the corner. Penn added an excellent conversion for 10-38.

Two identical tries on 49 and 58 minutes, both breaks up the right flank the first by flanker Jaques le Roux and the second by Moloney – neither of which was converted – narrowed the margin to 20-38 and the home side were back in with a slight chance.

That chance looked even more likely when Moseley again pressed and replacement flanker Hugh Tizard was yellow-carded, apparently for knocking the ball away. Moseley opted to scrummage and at the second attempt pushed Park’s reduced pack back over their own line for le Roux to touch down, Penn converting for 27-38 with ten minutes to go.

There was to be no fairy tale ending for the home side as Park’s superior fitness told in the final minutes. They set up a big press close to the home line and eventually prop Nick Lovell got over on 74 minutes, Leonard’s conversion putting Park out of sight at 45-27.

Park played possession rugby for the last few minutes and, given a penalty at full-time, Leonard spurned any heroics and pragmatically dispatched the ball to touch to claim a victory that keeps his side well in the battle for the title.

Look Ahead

Next weekend Park are at home to Chinnor in another important league fixture. Park drew 33-33 at Chinnor earlier in the season, a thrilling match they should have won. They will be looking to go one better this weekend, against a side that has already won six away matches this year.