North One East
Percy Park 18-Driffield 59
It’s hard to portray an accurate account of this game as the score line states that Percy Park were subjected to a crushing and overwhelming defeat. Yet at times they were mercurially brilliant and in that statement lies the problem. Percy Park are a capable side yet today , as in other games, they only play to their potential for brief hopeful periods then throw all their hard work away through a risky pass, a poor kick or a half-hearted tackle allowing the opposition to gain the upper hand. For the supporter the watching is becoming frustrating and to some discouraging, how it must feel to be player is anyone’s guess. Never the less they have the answer. If they can learn to play with patience and stop trying to force the game and in doing so cut out the unnecessary mistakes the results will turn. For on their game Park are a talented side. Unfortunately we are only seeing glimpses of it and that is where the discontent along with the cold weather is starting to creep in.
Park started the game brightly and were at Driffield with power and pace driving the Yorkshire side deep into their own half. It was with no great surprise when Driffield were penalised for being offside at the ruck as they were throwing bodies from all directions into the melee to prevent Park from scoring. With a penalty kick directly in front of the posts Fly half Michael Grove earned Park a well-deserved lead. From the resulting kick off Park gathered the ball and drove deep into the Driffield half. With scrum half Olly Gilmore orchestrating a ‘pick and go’ game with his forwards Driffield took to ‘playing on the line’ to frustrate Park momentum and it did not take long for referee Craig Wrightson to lose patience and award Park a further penalty . Followed by a stern warning to the Driffield captain. On this occasion however Michael Grove missed the kick with the ball drifting wide of the left hand post. It appeared to many that the game was set and we were in for a good afternoon. Then, as I mentioned earlier, for the supporter that hope was all too brief.
On the half way line Park were caught infringing and as a consequence they kicked to Park’s 22. With Michael Langlands continuing to show great form the subsequent Driffield ball was stolen and passed out wide for a Park player to clear. The resulting kick was poor…..the ball placed into the hands of the Driffield centre who was one of three players lying deep. From there he set off and Park were stretched trying to cover the space…with a flighted pass the Driffield player put his wing into open ground and having broken the tackle the Driffield player was across the line to score. With the conversion out wide Driffield were unable to add to their tally. The warning signs were there. Driffield were a great counterattacking side.
With renewed confidence Driffield’s pack started to pick holes in the Park defence targeting the ‘10’ channel. It was only a superb tackle from Park prop Joe Wafer that prevented Driffield from adding to their score. Park needed inspiration and as in recent games Michael Langlands led by example. Picking the ball up and using quick offloads to create space. With Full back Jamie Wrigley hitting the offloads at pace Park were at their mercurial best. As the North Shields side probed the Driffield line the Yorkshire defence became fragmented and they were penalised for using a ‘stiff arm ‘in the tackle area. In the resulting scrum Michael Langlands picked the ball up at a back, drove forward and with the ball neatly placed flanker Sean Williamson dived over several bodies for a try. The conversion was missed. 8-5 to Park
Driffield regrouped and came back at Park working the fringes of the ruck area. Park were missing tackles or hanging on the shirt or a boot of the Driffield player failing to take him to ground. Missed tackles were beginning to hurt. On the half hour Driffield were in again. This time the left wing, bouncing off several attempts to stop him, was over the try line for a fine individual score. With the try converted Driffield were ahead and for the rest of the game kept the lead.
Despite brief flashes of play Park could not hold the play together and when they did have possession they gave it away and that was how the next score arrived. With Park in meaningful possession they moved the ball at pace to centre Seb Reece who broke the line with speed and strength only to see the offload go into ‘no man’s land’ and a Driffield player seizing the ball. And in a blink of an eye Driffield counterattacked and their left wing was under the post for a try. A try converted. And at that moment the life appeared to disappear from the Park team and on the half Driffield scored again. At the turn Driffield led by 26 points to 8.
As the second half resumed the pattern of the first half resumed with Driffield running in try after try absorbing any pressure or passage of play Park could put together. As Driffield reached the 33 point mark Percy Park were able to pinch a score back from a Joe Wafer strike. That score only galvanised the opposition who brought the score to 59 points before Park were able to add to their try count minutes before the game ended. The final score Percy Park 18 Driffield 59.