West Hartlepool 50 - 14 Percy Park

The optimism after the Sheffield and Rochdale wins began to evaporate, as the Ist XV was rearranged, then rearranged some more following unavailabilities, illness and injuries. All in all there were 5 changes in the pack and 4 in the backs, but all credit to the lads who stepped in to breach the gaps.


Jimmy Baldwin
In perfect conditions for running rugby, West who had lost their previous 3 matches found their missing form and over ran a makeshift Park side, who to their credit never gave up the fight.

West opened the scoring after a prolonged spell of pressure in the Park half with Andrew Hare finishing off the try wide left which Tom Dixon converted with ease. Park held out for the next 20 minutes opting to kick for position rather than run phases of play, and West capitalized with the second try of the game this time by Martin Todd on the right wing which again Dixon converted.

West new boy Howe scored their third try, after a good break by skipper Davy Tighe put the centre into space to score under the posts the conversion by lock forward Tom Dixon making the score 21 - 0.

The final score of the half came from England U18 scrum half Mike Young and again Dixon made sure of the extra points.

The second half started for the visitors in much the same way as the first with the West side seeming more up for the challenge. Henry Tones for the home side finished off a rolling maul and with the Dixon conversion Park were now down by 35 points.

It was Lions captain Craig Bartle who broke the deadlock for Percy Park, standing in at second row to allow Carl Griffiths to play in the back row. From a tap penalty Craig used his not inconsiderable bulk to power over the line, and Michael O'Niell converted.

Park had several chances in the second half, but lady luck always seems to desert the losing side. Liam Casey made a fine break, and with the line at his mercy with only the full back to be tried the "Maori side step" rather than his own trade mark version and was smother tackled on the line.

Captain Greg Dixon also had a chance to score after Mark Walton had broken through the mid field only to be tap tackled yards short of the line.

Todd and Young both added to the home sides tally with further tries, and thankfully the unerring accuracy of Dixon deserted him, as he failed to convert any of the remaining tries.

Greg Edwards scored the final points for West although Park had the final word with a try by scrum half Jimmy Baldwin who sniped through a gap and used his pace to get to the line. Michael O'Niell converted, to take the final score to 50 - 14.

On a more positive note Park Pumas won their cup quarter final match against Morpeth Edwardians in a close and bruising encounter. Park won 12 - 7 with tries by Ian Whitfield, Steven McPherson with Gary Davy converting.

Park should now meet the winners of the Gosforth Phoenix and Border Park match on 3rd March.

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