RAMS Director of Rugby Seb Reynolds hailed his club’s ‘finest hour’ after they beat Rosslyn Park 27-20 with a final-play penalty try on a dramatic afternoon at Old Bath Road.

The visitors, who sat top of the National One table before kick-off, had built an early 14-0 lead, but were gradually ground down by a relentless Rams side who ended with a try bonus-point.

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And Reynolds said: “It’s probably our finest hour. The guys are creating their own journey and blazing trails for this club – we’ve never been at this level, so to play Rosslyn Park, a historic club, on our own patch and to get the result, you have to cherish those moments. It’s because of our respect to them that it means so much to get the victory.

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“We felt if we could be in the game at 60 minutes, we could put them under pressure and that proved fruitful.”

It was Rosslyn Park who took a seventh-minute lead when they were awarded a penalty try after the hosts illegally brought down a rolling maul, second row Connor Stapley sin-binned for his infringement.

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Things got worse for Rams when prop Cameron Zeiss was yellow carded for a no arms tackle, and an Arthur Ellis score extended the advantage further, Craig Holland adding the extras.

But the hosts struck back when Tom Vooght went over at the back of a rolling maul, going into the break 14-5 down.

Andrew Humberstone kicked a penalty to cut the gap, only for Henry Leonard to reply in kind.

Replacement Rams prop Niall Kidd barrelled over from close range to give his side’s increasingly vocal supporters hope, only for a second Leonard penalty to make it 20-13.

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However, as the game entered its final quarter, Kidd and fellow replacement Sean McDonnell-Roberts took charge of the scrum, earning a penalty try three minutes from time to level matters.

Humberstone missed a long-range penalty as time ticked down, but Rams forced one final chance as they went through the phases. Another penalty was won five metres from the line on the left touchline, but instead of going for the posts, they chose to take a scrum and earned another penalty try to snatch a thrilling victory.

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Reflecting on the impact his substitutes made, Reynolds said: “The two props who came on, Niall Kidd and Sean McDonnell-Roberts, really took the game to them in the set-piece and it was a great


"However, we also need to mention the starting props (Jack Steadman and Zeiss) and hooker Ben Henderson, because they laid the foundation in the first half.

Reynolds continued: “We’re enjoying being at this level, but we’re under no illusions it’s tough.

Every team we play is tough, and if we drop our level for five minutes you’re punished, as we were in the first half. We didn’t start well, but fair play that was because Rosslyn Park were fantastic. They dominated us and put the ball into the right areas, they forced sin-bins and penalties. We had to grind our way back into the game.”

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A feature of the final stages of Rams’ victory was the noise generated by their fans, who were swept up in the emotion of a dramatic fixture.

Reynolds said: “I can’t speak highly enough of the support we get. We actually said at half-time about coming towards the clubhouse (in the second half) we wanted to give people something to cheer about and the players were highly motivated by that.

“We wanted to take the tempo up and play some rugby and put the pressure on Rosslyn Park. We did that and while it was a bit tense at times, we gave the crowd a great finish.

Meanwhile, Rosslyn Park Director of Rugby Kieran Power was gracious in defeat, stating : “It was a great game. It’s disappointing, but we got a bonus-point and we’ll go again next week.

“In the second half we struggled with our exits and our game management. We probably played too much rugby and they won penalties and pinned us back. It was one of those games where it was a tale of two halves.”

Rams remain third in the table as they head north to Sale next Saturday, aiming to follow up their impressive victories at Darlington Mowden Park and Rotherham Titans earlier in the season.

But Reynolds warned: “They’re a very good side who’ve had some impressive results – they beat Richmond at home.

“They’re big boys who play some good rugby and they dominated Blackheath at home as well, but we’ll go up there and give it a good bash.”

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