PERCY PARK 19 -20 WHEATLEY HILLS
Park were leading up to the 73rd minute when a long range kick from Jonathan Woodcock sealed the win for the visitors by a single point. On the balance of play, Wheatley deserved their win which included three tries to Park’s one, but the result could have been so different if on one of the three occasions Park crossed the line, a try had been awarded instead of a 5 metre scrum.
Marcus Rutter returned to the Park team having recovered from flu, and started at fly half with Phil Morse having broken his hand following late night revelry post the Cleckheaton win last week. The visitors were without influential powerhouse Gaz Burns who is currently out with a knee injury.
Park kicked off against second placed Wheatley, with the ball going straight to touch resulting in a scrum on half way. The visiting pack who were visibly at least a stone a man heavier (5 stones in the case of Alex Ogilvie their tight head prop) immediately put down their marker for the game with a strong srummage driving the Park eight backwards. Although Hills started the strong Park opened the scoring with a Rutter penalty on 5 minutes.
Wheatley Hills came back with a try by full back Woodcock who finished off a move created by a break through the Park defences by centre Ryan Guest. Woodcock was unable to convert the difficult touch line conversion but his side led 5 – 3.
Percy Park hit back with another Rutter penalty after scrum half Ian Barker has pinged for going off his feet at a ruck. Minutes later Wheatley had a chance to regain the lead after Andy Dunn was penalised for holding on to the ball after a tackle, but the attempt was wide.
Park were unlucky not to stretch the lead when a move down the right wing appeared to be finished of by Jack Davidson. The young flanker reached over the line a dabbed the ball down just as the cover defence arrived and a pile up ensued, poor positioning by the referee meant he was unsighted and as a result the score was disallowed and a 5 metre scrum was awarded. Park had sorted out their earlier scrummaging problems and were now holding their own in the tight, and with the ball won the Park back line attacked. The visitors defended well, but scrum half Barker was again penalised this time for offside, and Rutter kicked the points on offer – 9 – 5.
With the half ebbing away, Wheatley Hills mad a good break down the right hand flank and good support play allowed centre Guest to pick up an over head pass and go over the line taking several defenders with him in the process of scoring. Although the conversion was off target, Hills went into the break 10 – 9 to the good.
Park started the second half as badly as they had finished the first as the visitors scored within a minute of the kick off. Again poor tackling in the midfield allowed Ryan Guest through the defence to score and Woodcocks conversion now gave his side a healthy 17 – 9 lead.
Stung into action, the home side upped their game, and a tactical switch saw Ash Smith moved up to inside centre and Dave Griffiths to full back. Rutter kicked another penalty to keep Park in touch, before Tom Buckenham was sent to the bin with the referee indicating what appeared to be a punch. With the numerical advantage Park crossed the try line again with both Jack Davidson and Andy Dunn appearing to get the touch down, but tries were not given. Fortunately Park did score soon after with John Scott breaking through the fringe defence at the set piece and skirted round to score closer to the posts to give Rutter the better chance with the goal attempt which he duly converted to take the lead 19 – 17.
Wheatley hit back almost from the restart as Park were penalised just inside their own half. Woodcock stepped up to take the kick at goal. The odds were not in his favour based on his previous attempts of the day, but he calmly kicked the ball keeping it low and the ball just had enough on it to go over the cross bar to retake the lead 20 – 19 which was how the game ended.
This was Park’s first home league defeat of the season and they remain in fourth place but the leading two clubs Billingham and Wheatley Hills are now opening up a gap at the top.
There is no game for the 1st XV next week as they take a well earned break in the league, so the Lions take centre stage and entertain West Hartlepool Stags at Preston Avenue KO 2.15. The Lions are doing well in the Candy Division 1 this season and would welcome your support.
PERCY PARK PUMAS 38 – 29 PERCY PARK MARAUDERS
As you might expect this inter-club league game gained almost as much attention as the 1st XV game. Since it was decided at the end of last season that the Pumas and Marauders would play in the same league this season, there had been a good deal of anticipation as to who would gain the upper hand. As the score suggests it was a close run affair with Park’s third XV just edging it. Ian Bradley was the pick of the Pumas side with a hat trick of tries, with Toby Gray bagging two for the Marauders.
Next week the Pumas are away to Gosforth and the Marauders make the short journey to Whitley Bay to take on Rockcliff Vikings where they will be re-acquainted with former skipper Paul Hardcastle. After taking the Marauders from Northumberland League 3c, to 3b, and now 3a and with two cup wins, Paul decided on a change of scenery and having recently recovered from ankle surgery has made the move to Rockcliff.
NORTHUMBERLAND JUNIOR CHALLENGE TROPHY – No5 CUP
ASHINGTON III 10 – 53 PERCY PARK PENGUINS
This comfortably win by the old boys (some of them anyway) earns them a home quarterfinal against Ponteland Vets.
See separate report
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