Before the game the two teams were seemingly candidates for relegation having identical playing records.
The situation is now reversed and Folkestone are firmly in the bottom three and facing demotion.
FOLKESTONE 1stXV 10 PARK HOUSE 1stXV 22
Saturday 17th February 2018 Report by Alan Schofield.
After gaining an early lead Folkestone were then overwhelmed and overcome by an opposition that played solid reliable rugby against the home team that, in a nervous performance, manifested itself in a disjointed and mistake strewn effort of 80 minutes of frustration for players, coaches and spectators alike.
Before the game the two teams were seemingly candidates for relegation having identical playing records, but Folkestone having a slightly better points difference occupying fourth from bottom of the table. The situation is now reversed and Folkestone are firmly in the bottom three and facing demotion.
Many of the Park House players were of brobdingnagian appearance, and it was apparent that Folkestone would have to be at their liveliest to circumvent these obstacles – and the early indications were that this was exactly what would happen when Sam Beech won an early line out and John Eustace made the important half break before offloading to his three-quarter line with Captain Jon Morton (back from a four month injury recovery) and Seyhan Fell who passed back inside to Morton to run through and touch down. Seyhan Fell converted and after 4 minutes The Stones had a 7 – 0 lead.
This was a time to savour because for the next 30 minutes of play Park House had 80% of possession and a similar territorial advantage. Their forwards took control and, helped by three penalty kicks found their way into the Folkestone 5 metre zone but after some doughty tackling in defence the whereabouts of the ball was lost until the opposition released it, and it was run through unopposed. 7 – 7.
The pattern immediately resumed from the restart and what little Folkestone saw of the ball was quickly thwarted by themselves by either kicking away possession or by conceding penalties. But Park House were strong and stable and built up their attacks irresistibly. Three mighty efforts were countered with similar defensive tackles by the forwards but Folkestone had no answer when the ball was thrown wide to the right and run through easily for the second try. 7 – 12.
A third try followed, after Park House stole a home line out, and the now familiar routine was set as their forwards relentlessly powered their way into the five-metre zone – and whilst, to their credit, the Folkestone forwards put up good defence it was only in the same way as did King Canute in the 12th Century. 7 – 17.
But, The Stones were able to show that there was a way forward when from a winning scrum, John Eustace and Alex Green made ground with Seyhan Fell coming up to carry the ball fast and wide before James Mead took it up and crossed the try line, with the flagstick flattened, in a mass of cover defenders. But no try was awarded and Park House escaped – only to be penalised in front of their posts, with Seyhan Fell being as accurate as ever. 10 – 17.
Liam Trinder made 40 metres downfield in an exciting break, with James Mead in support and Park House were stretched to prevent a try. And it was this type of open running play where Folkestone looked to have the edge.
An amount of lalochezia was overheard during the home team discussions at half time whilst the opposition were resting and relaxed during their break, which typified the difference between the teams. But, for short time - as the second half began, there was hope on the horizon. Multi changes brought on Mat Roots and Connor Leather in the front row and Jack Shorter gave David Jarvis a rest in the second row – but David Jarvis was quickly brought back on as Josh Holt was replaced.
But before long, Park House took the initiative again and ploughed into the Folkestone half with another succession of pick and drives – every time making meterage – and soon The Stones again were put to defending their line. Three touchdown attempts were resisted before Park House knocked the ball on in the fourth attempt.
Folkestone tried kicking for position, but often failed – and this was mystery as Park House were adept in winning the ball, retaining possession and using this possession. And the few occasions they themselves kicked it, it was done with a purpose and long distances were gained along the touch line. Moreover Park House had four extra-ordinary tall men in the line-outs – that were invariably won with ease.
Then came the crunch score – the bonus point fourth try for Park House. It came in typical fashion as Folkestone conceded a mid-field penalty – a long touch was gained 10 metres out from the try line. Park House won the line out and mauled the ball towards the try line eventually putting 10 players into the shove forward – and having drawn the defence in, then threw a wide pass right and Folkestone were undone. 10 – 22.
With 15 minutes left to play there was a good fight back by The Stones. The Park House line was oft threatened by the Folkestone team with 6 penalties being awarded to them in as many minutes as Park House desperately defended their lead. This was arousing stuff by the home team, but with nothing to show for it – and it was to the credit of their opponent’ defences that the score board remained unchanged.
Another late and well executed play by David Jarvis, Mat Roots and Jon Morton was snuffed out by a now excited Park House team and as the final whistle blew they had much to congratulate themselves about as they took a big step towards securing their future in this division.
With five matches remaining, three at home, Folkestone’s needs are obvious, the response is now a necessity, if the Club are not going to descend into the lower local league.
Team: Alex Green, Adam Bloomfield, Thomas Snare: David Jarvis, Colby Hayward: Liam Trinder, Sam Beech, John Eustace: Callum Palmieri, James Lunnun: Josh Holt, Will Turner, Jon Morton (Capt.), James Mead: Seyhan Fell.
Subs: Mat Roots, Connor Leather, Jack Shorter.
Scorers: Jon Morton 5; Seyhan Fell 2, 3.