NORTHUMBERLAND SENIOR SHIELD
PERCY PARK LIONS 68 - 29 SEGHILL
It's been a busy old week for the Lions. On Wednesday night, Park welcomed Seghill in a No2 cup semi final and then on Saturday, Billingham Lions provided the opposition in a Candy Plate semi-final.
In both fixtures, Park assembled a senior side i.e. no colts, with our outstanding youngsters focusing on their own cup game at Berwick.
In the Seghill game, Park started at a fast pace, hoping to run the enthusiasm out of the visitors. However, Seghill had other ideas, the first 40 minutes were very keenly contested with only a score separating the two sides. Park then blitzed their opponents at the beginning of the second half, eventually winning 68-29. It was a very entertaining game and despite the score-line a close contest. Park now play Morpeth in final at Ponteland on 25th March KO 2pm.
CANDY PLATE SEMI-FINAL
PERCY PARK LIONS 32 - 19 BILLINGHAM LIONS
In the second game, Park started in similar fashion with Billingham kicking off , good D forced Billingham to turn the ball over and Park attacked with pace, slick hands and width. With Billingham stepping offside, Park kicked to the corner. From the lineout hooker Dubois emerged from the heap of players as the try scorer - 5-0.
There then followed an extended period of pressure from the visitors, during which, Park were fortunate not to concede. But Park stuck at it, forcing Billingham back to the halfway line. A handling error allowed Blackburn to hack the ball forward, the chasing winger forcing a Billingham player over his try-line giving Park a 5m scrum. At the scrum, Park attacked left, Morse and Jobson running a move which created space for the lanky flyhalf to slip through the created hole and slide in the corner. 10-0.
Billingham then hit back. The Division 1 Champions reduced the deficit to 3 points with a well-taken try. 10-7. Park replied to this score, with their 3rd try. An attack up the stand side of the pitch saw some good handling and offloading by Park. With the opposition sucked in , Hasnip threw out a huge pass off his right hand to winger Blackburn who showed good pace to score in the corner . 15-7 . HT. If Park had had a kicker , the score would have been a good deal healthier , 21-7 would've looked far better !!
During the first half, Park were forced into a couple of changes. Sutherland, feeling a hamstring , was replaced by new signing Charlie . Morse injured his knee and came off to annoy everyone on the touchline with his terrible banter, he was replaced by Saint with Hasnip moving to 10 and Caulfield (sponsored by the Ahar and who had been tearing it up in the back row ) on to the wing . What made matters worse, was that Gould had finished early from work and came along to add his own brand of humour to the touchline!
Park got the first score of the second half. Dubois threw his third not straight in a lineout . But then a huge drive from the Park Pack allowed a surprised Saint the opportunity of a pick up down the blindside , the burly lock powering his way over the line . AND , Davison knocked over the conversion !! 22-7 .
Billingham then came roaring back. Rejuvenated by a car load of Fijians, they started forcing mistakes in Parks D and their discipline suffered. In all honesty, Park should've received a yellow as they conceded a string of penalties in a 2/3 minute spell. Referee Wrightson, making his second visit four days, being extremely lenient. 22-14 .
Park then scored a great try. A penalty on the halfway was dispatched into the Billingham 22. A good catch and drive was stopped about 5m out. The ball was then passed out to the backs. The move nearly came to a halt with a pass to nobody, but young centre Jobson inspired by his Fijian opponents, popped the ball through his legs to centre partner Charlie on the loop, who then fed Davison who cut inside the cover to score.
Normal service resumed with conversion! 27-14. Park made a couple of changes, Baldwin replacing Gilmore for only a few minutes with the former limping off after a big double tackles. Gilmour was very lucky to have started the game in the first place having been told by his young lady that he wasn't allowed to pay his match fee! Charlie was replaced by Sutherland after cramping up, and Sanderson replaced Ward who wanted to save his energy for his engagement party in the evening.
The sea-saw nature of the game continued, as Billingham scored after another period of pressure in the Park 22. The big number 5 forcing his way over and with no replay available to check the grounding, the try was given. 27-19.
Bill sniffed a chance of taking this game. Park, now down to 14 with Caulfield foolishly sin-binned, regrouped before restarting. But there was no need to panic, as Park would have the final say. A penalty awarded to Park, was moved 10m forward after a little bit of chat. A good kick into the Billingham 22 was followed by an excellent forward effort, with Dubois claiming his second try. I won't mention the conversion. 32-19. FT.
Referee Wrightson brought proceedings to a halt. This was another great game between these two sides. Both sides gave their all, both played some very entertaining rugby. Congratulations to Billingham on being crowned League Champions, and, congratulations to Park for progressing to two finals. Fingers crossed we can bring home some silver in the coming weeks.