North 1 East
Dinnington 19 - 28 Percy Park
Following their resounding Northumberland Senior Cup Victory over Berwick Percy Park travelled to Lodge Lane the home of Dinnington RFC for the first North One East league game of the season in high spirits and that feel good factor was transferred onto the pitch as they defeated a robust Dinnington side by 28 points to 19.
Park started the brighter of the two sides taking advantage of the notorious Lodge Lane slope on a warm afternoon that had the Percy Park support stripping off to showcase their new Northumbrian Tartan waistcoats. An attire that brought many an admiring glance as the day progressed. The first score came after 5 minutes from Vice Captain Phil Morse as Park having absorbed the first Dinnington attack broke away in their own 22 and through a series of quick passes,offloads and a clever kick to the corner saw Morse touchdown with fly half Michael Grove converting.
And that set the tone for the first half. Park certainly had the measure of their opponents across all areas of the game, winning all the breakdowns and set pieces and you could see that the Dinnington support were visibly concerned. With Park failing to win at Lodge Lane on the previous three visits the Dinnington support thought that a home victory would be assured. Concern that was heightened as full back Jamie Wrigley dealt with a high ball and set off at pace scything through the Dinnington defence to put Park on the front foot and with the Dinnington defence in disarray forward Andy McGrath, in support, was able to touchdown with some ease. Again Grove was able to convert. There followed an exchange of penalty kicks with Dinnington struggling to remain onside as Park continued to play on the front foot alas the Dinnington awards came from Park overcomplicating their play and being penalised for holding onto the ball. As the end of the half beckoned a sparkling move led by coach Lome Faatau almost saw wing Leo Caulfield score. Half time was called with Park leading by 23 points to 6 and the North Shields outfit dominant.
Inexplicably Percy Park started the second half poorly forgetting the style of play that had given them what appeared to be an unassailable lead and a score that promised so much more. During the half time chat Dinnington had decided to stick the ball up the jumper and instead of Park moving the bigger Dinnington forwards around the field became embroiled in the physical contact. Unfortunately that allowed Dinnington to creep on the Park score by reducing the margin to 11 points. Realising the danger and during a break in play Captain Jonny Dubois gathered his troops together and Park returned to the fluid running game of rugby that was producing consternation in the Dinnington ranks and concluded with the Dinnington tight head being given a stern warning for some over exuberant use of the hand on forward Andy McGrath.
As a consequence a try duly followed with Phil Morse skipping over the Dinnington line following a fine example of the Park forwards aggressive rucking play and quick offloads allowing Faatau space to offload to Morse to go over the line. Unfortunately the conversion was missed and there followed missed opportunties to score that all important fourth try with that final pass either going to ground or a Park player kicking away the pocession. As the game progressed hooker Jonny Dubois attracted the referees displeasure and a yellow card yet all that did was to bring the venerable Michael Langlands to the front row and in two successive scrums duly proceeded to take Dinningtons ball 'against the head' an achievement he persistently reminded his Captain of well into the early hours of the morning.Having seen out the one man disadvantage and still searching for that elusive bonus point try Park gave the ball away allowing a Dinnington player a late consolation try . The final score 28-19 to Percy Park.
The Dinnington Man of the Match award went to Phil Morse and Andy McGrath who both enjoyed fine games.The Percy Park pick was fly half Michael Grove who is beginning to evolve into a really good fly half with the ability to dictate and control a game.
Overall this was a fine performance from a young vibrant Park team who are clearly enjoying their rugby. There are some very strong and experienced sides in their league yet on the promise of this performance the Park team should be confident of performing well.
We are also pleased to report that the Percy Park Lions recorded a good win against Gateshead