Rosslyn Park blindside flanker Harry Rowland is happy to be in second place in National League One – for the time being.
After their 63-20 mauling of Tynedale on Saturday, where Ross Laidlaw, pictured below, kicked nine out of nine conversions, Park are in touch with leaders Ealing Trailfinders – who inflicted on Park their only defeat of the season so far.
With only the top team being promoted to the Championship, Rowland says it is vital Park stay on Ealing’s tail, and the post-Christmas period will be all important.
The two giants meet in the final match before the Christmas break on December 22, but Park have seven equally tough games before then.
Rowland, a try scorer in the win over Tynedale, said: “It is sometimes easier to be chasing than to be chased and I can see Ealing slipping up after Christmas as the pressure from behind on top starts to tell. Everyone is out to get the scalp of the leader.
“We just need to make sure that after Christmas we make a big push. We have a big squad, which should play into our hands in terms of fitness. We need to make sure that we not only win our games, but we pick up the bonus points too.
“When Jersey were promoted last year, they put a run together in the new year after not having the greatest start. So I am not worried about Ealing at the moment.”
Park were rarely in trouble against Tynedale, thanks to a brace of tries from Hugo Ellis and Nev Edwards, and tries from Jack Gash, Charlie Broughton, Rowland, Darrell Ball and Luke Campbell – alongside Laidlaw’s majestic boot.
Rowland said: “When you have someone like Ross [Laidlaw] in your team, someone so consistent, it really lifts everyone. We’re lucky, I’d rate him as our most valuable player right now in terms of consistency.
“He is very level-headed and can stop people running away with the excitement of playing well.”
Park, who boast an unbeaten at home record, are on the road this weekend at London rivals Richmond – who took points of Ealing and third-placed Cinderford recently.
Rowland said: “It’s going to be a tough derby, there are not many derbies that are not tough.
“Richmond might be in mid-table but they are not losing matches, in fact they have only lost twice in eight games.
“We’ll need to be on our toes to get anything out of the game.”