Northumberland Senior Cup First Round
Percy Park 34- Northern FC 18
Park make hard work of the victory but show promise
As one old sage stated after the game ‘Knit one, Pearl one, Drop one!!’ Many would ask what that philosopher of rugby might have been referring to…well the comparison is made to knitting patterns …yep that’s right knitting patterns!!…Park created patterns of play (Knit one) engineering great 2 v 1 opportunities (Pearl one) only to drop the ball on the final execution (drop one) and it was hard to argue with that analogy. Park should have been out of sight in this game, yet they managed to keep Northern interested through a lack of a clinical finish. What the analogy does show is promise because Park are certainly getting themselves into positions where a score is likely.
The game started poorly for Park. Michael Grove hit the line at pace before being smothered by the Northern defence and giving away a penalty for holding on. A kick to the line saw Northern secure their own ball and push and roll themselves over the ‘Black and White line’ for an unconverted score. A score that was quickly replied to with a Grove penalty. The full back striking the ball well to cover the distance over the posts.
After the frantic start Park began to settle, with scrum half Jared Deacon (a recent recruit from South Shields Rugby Club) making telling contributions to Park’s play. With Richard Chadwick offering a calming influence in the back line (and we do look a better side with Chadwick in the line-up) both Deacon and fly half Andrew Walker began to play with confidence. Unfortunatly the final completion that the large crowd anticipated went begging. And when Percy Park elected to take a scrum in front of the posts instead of a penalty kick, the resulting move drew the word ‘butchered’ from many. There are no bonus points in cup rugby gentlemen!! And when Northern were given their opportunity…yep they took the points…3-8 to Northern.
From the resulting kick off came a move straight off the training field. Chadwick let fly a teasing kick that wing Leo Caulfield caught in full flight followed by a great offload to the ‘ageless’ Michael Langlands to score. With the conversion hitting the post it was all square.
Park were dominant and the dominance in the front five had Northern scrambling about for a fit prop. I don’t know if the enforced changes had an effect on Park’s focus because we did not ‘turn the screw’ and that was to cost Park as Northern kicked to the corner and with the line out won they (you guessed it) pushed and rolled over the line. And as the inevitable ‘behind the posts’ debrief was had an experienced voice could be heard ‘Park- wake up’ and they need to, because the only way Northern could have or would have won this game was if Percy Park gifted it to them.
Fortunately Chadwick was at hand to gain parity before half time. Richard Chadwick was hitting the line hard and driving the defenders back. On one such occasion allowing the ball to be recycled to fleet-footed Michael Grove who finished a flowing move with some aplomb. 13 all at the break.
From ‘the off’ Park threw the ball around at pace putting wing Ross Young into the corner to score. Since his introduction to first team rugby Ross is showing great potential to be a very fine player. Park ahead.
As regular readers of this column know, whenever Percy Park play there is always a ‘drama’ …something that always happens that generates a groan…or ’heads held in hands’ moment…or an action that creates numerous dumfounded looks ..Many call it entertainment...some torture!!…so…enter Captain Jonny Dubois, who deep in his 22 elected to kick the ball in an attempt to clear the Park try line…well after that attempt it’s fair to say our Captain is no fly half; as he chipped the ball into the eagerly waiting hands of a Northern forward who duly scored!! Happily Jonny can throw a quoit better than he can kick a ball. With the conversion missed the score was 20-18 to Park.
What followed was a period where Percy Park were trying too hard to find the killer pass. Opportunities went begging until a bit of fortune came their way. With ball in hand Andrew Walker elected to kick ahead deep into the Northern 22. With the kick gathered the Northern player gave the chasing Walker the ball back and with a couple of deft side steps and no shortage of pace the young fly half was over the line to score a fine individual try. A score that generated a roar from the crowd and the player being mobbed by his team mates…there is a saying ‘you make your own luck’ and that was some try!!
As the second half progressed scores were exchanged and a few changes were made to the Park side, which saw returning players making their first start of the season and First XV debuts for Aiden Phillips and Travis Bowart. We hope to see more of them as the season progresses.The introduction of Kieran Sutherland injected pace and guile to the back line…however he was unable to finish moves that he often started and that ‘sports fans’ brings me back to the beginning of this article… ‘’As one old sage stated after the game Knit one, Pearl one, Drop one!!’’
The next game for our beloved ‘black and whites’ will be a eagerly anticipated home game to Huddersfield YMCA on Saturday 1st September 2018 KO 3pm. The match is sponsored by Carlsberg and all club members are welcome….’come on Park’