With snow and lighting issues seriously curtailing their practice time in the week leading up to this game, Park had concerns about their preparation but quickly returned to the form that saw them finish with an undefeated Fall record.
The turf field made for an exciting and furiously paced game from the opening whistle and Park looked ever dangerous when counter-attack opportunities presented themselves. Welcoming back Brady from injury, Park featured a new centre partnership with Bean moving further out from 9 to 13 and debutant Griffin proving a formidable force at inside-centre.
In the pack, there was a more familiar look with the exception of Perrizo stepping up from his more usual D3 role to put in a steady shift at blindside flanker. On the open-side, Schwartz finally looked to be back to full fitness, proving a menace to any Barbarian attack.
It was on the offensive side of the ball, that Schwartz made his first mark. A weakside break from Togher supported by Barrett and Bean put Park’s 7 free down the right sideline for the opening score.
Park doubled their score after 26 minutes following a Carroll break. The fullback, who was a constant threat all game, fed Prengeman and the winger cut inside before feeding the supporting Boroski, who despite a brief juggling act raced through for the try.
Before halftime, Park scored again. This time, it was Marples eating up the ground with a long striding break down the middle.
The Barbarians changed up their plan of attack early in the second half, resorting to a pick and drive to try to draw in Park’s defence, before looking to get supporting runners once they hit open space. This initially worked with two tries early in the half pulling them back to within 7 points.
At this stage, Park could easily have retreated into a defensive mode and lost their early confidence but to their credit, they regained their composure and midway through the half scored two quick tries to put the game away.
First Brady, reacting to an over-aggressive Barbarian defensive line, found a gap at the edge of a ruck to run untouched under the posts. Then Marples proving his earlier burst of speed was no fluke, sprinted through a second time to complete the scoring.
Team: Boghani (Waryjas), Boroski, Bitar (Digan), Hodges, Marples, Perrizo (McDowell), Schwartz, Togher, Brady (Langley), Barrett, Prengeman, Griffin, Bean (Harvey), Langley (Turner), Carroll (Ehlert)
Try: Marples 2, Schwartz 1, Boroski 1, Brady 1
Con, Bean 3, Barrett 1