Park House travelled to Bromley confident of building upon the first weekend of the season which saw us share the spoils with Hastings and pick up three points. Bolstered by the return of some key players, we headed over the road confident we could take something from this derby game.
Bromley kicked off, playing down the significant slope. The opening exchanges saw both sides trying to play expansive attacking rugby, but defences stood firm. Bromley were then able to earn a penalty in front of the posts following a tackle that strayed too high. Shot at goal successful, 3-0.
The first try of the match came when Park House tried to force the ball wide when it wasn’t on, allowing Bromley to pick an interception and race down the hill for the opening try. A good chase back from Tom Strangeway stopped the scorer getting near the posts and the conversion was missed, 8-0.
From the kick off Bromley cleared and gave Park House the chance to build from a lineout in the opponents half. Several phases later and a penalty for offside gave Richard Russ a chance to reduce the deficit. Kick was successful, 8-3.
Sadly things got much worse before they got better. Another attacking move from Park House around the half way line saw the ball go wide. It was knocked on and bounced directly into the arms of a Bromley back who shot off down the hill and offloaded to a support player to score nearer the posts. Conversion successful, 15-3.
Park House then had to endure a period of pressure from the hosts, using the slope to their advantage. Some hard running from the Bromley 13 caused problems and he was able to break the line and score under the posts. Conversion successful, 22-3.
The final chance of the first half saw Park House awarded a penalty in front of the posts, but quite far out. With two minutes to the break Russy had a shot at goal but the kick drifted wide of the uprights. Half time Bromley 22-3 Park House.
Park House knew they had a lot of work to do in the second half to get something out of the game and Bromley knew one more try would see them secure a bonus point. Luckily, this was a game of two halves and the advantage of the slope was more than Park House realised. The introduction of Ben Barker in the back row saw him lead by example with some big carries. This had a knock on impact as the whole team started to show a bit more belief with ball in hand. Following a big break from Ben through midfield, Pat Shiel was able to crash over from five yards for a first Park House try. Conversion successful, 22-10.
From kick off both sides battled with a lot of rugby played between the two 22s. 15 minutes from time, following a catch and drive lineout, Ben Barker peeled off to score out wide. Conversion successful, 22-17.
Park House continued to build pressure, but several missed penalty kicks to touch really hurt their momentum and allowed Bromley to clear their lines and regroup. With ten minutes to go, Bromley made a break from deep, which although stopped in the Park House 22, ended with a very kickable penalty being awarded. The shot was taken and the penalty successful, 25-17.
With 8 minutes left Park House knew they needed to score twice to win the game. Bromley ended up defending deep in their own half and with 2 minutes left, Russy kicked a penalty to bring the score to 25-20.
An exciting but ultimately disappointing end to the game followed. A strong Park House scrum won a penalty, allowing Russy to send the ball into the Bromley 22 for one last attack, the lineout was won, but sacked before a drive could get going and Bromley earned a penalty at the breakdown, ending any chance of a fairy-tale ending to the game. Final score Bromley 25- 20 Park House, so only a losing bonus point to show for our efforts.
Ben Barker, despite only playing a half (and managing to cramp up) was the standout Park House player on the day. Thanks to everyone who turned out in support, makes a huge difference to the team having you guys on the side-lines. Plenty to work on in training this week, as the first team prepare to meet another local rival, Old Dunstonians, at home and the second team prepare for their first game of the season away at Old Colfeians.
Try scorers – Pat Shiel, Ben Barker
Kicking – Russy 4/5 (80%) 2 conversions, 2 penalties, one missed penalty