Torrential rain from kick-off meant that Park’s state-of-the-art 4G pitch was the only place in the vicinity not covered in puddles.

A strong, icy cross wind still effectively ruled out any slick backs moves, but when you can field a pack as strong as Park’s, despite several injuries, then that is not necessarily a disadvantage.

Park took the game by the scruff of the neck from the start. Pressure finally yielded a penalty on 5 minutes, kicked to the corner for the predictable – but equally unstoppable – catch and drive move. Lock Gregor Gillanders claimed the score with fly half Greg Lound nailing a wide conversion for 7-0.

Caldy tried to rally but could not breach Park’s defensive wall to get into the home 22. However, visiting scrum half Ben Jones took the chance when Park sinned on their own 10-metre line, his penalty reduced the lead to 7-3 on 10 minutes.

Park were soon back on the attack and, given a penalty on 14 minutes, staged a reprise of their first effort. This time it was prop Paul Doran-Jones who claimed the score, Lound converting for 14-3.

The home side nearly pulled off the same move again given a further penalty but the ball was dropped at the back of the lineout. But for a tendency to kick away possession too easily and conceding penalties for technical offences Park would have been out of sight. Caldy simply could not launch a worthwhile attack with the excellence of Park’s tackling.

However, the visitors got a glimpse of a chance eight minutes from the interval when Park number 8 Hugo Ellis was sent to the bin for a high tackle. Caldy kicked the resulting penalty to the corner to test the home side’s reduced defence, but it coped admirably and soon worked the ball to the far end.

Caldy were soon scrambling in defence. They held out from a penalty to the corner but only at the cost of another one. This time Park’s forward unit – a man short – drove over against one of the best packs in the division, stand-in hooker Arthur Ellis touching down and Lound adding the conversion for 21-3 at half-time.

The second half was a bit scrappy, but in fairness with the icy wind and torrential rain it was a wonder the two teams could play any sort of rugby at all!

Park were all over Caldy but errors, largely attributable to the awful conditions, prevented any further score until, on 63 minutes, they kicked a penalty to the corner and the pack set up the drive and winger Charlie Amesbury was on hand to touch down out wide for 26-3.

To their credit, Caldy never gave up and got a consolation try on 68 minutes. It did not look a particularly promising attack until replacement Stuart Cross spotted a gap in the home defence that really should not have been there and sprinted through it before anyone could react. Jones converted for the final score of 26-10.

Next Saturday Park tackle Bishops Stortford at their Silver Leys ground. Stortford are one of the better attacking sides in the league but have lost crucial games by small margins and are under threat of relegation. Park need only look back to their home defeat by Esher, who were in a similar position, to see how dangerous such teams can be. Park won the home game earlier in the season by 25-17, but Stortford showed in that match just how dangerous they can be ball-in-hand from anywhere on the pitch.

Park are currently lying equal second in National One, level with Blackheath and four points behind Old Elthamians, so – with those two teams playing each other this weekend – a convincing win this Saturday could see them go top of the table.