Candy League Division 1
Tynedale Raiders 59 v Percy Park Lions 17
‘There’s always next week!’
The headline just about states all that needs to be said. Mind our players had a little bit more to say after the game and the word ‘Dire’ is about the only thing I can set to print!!....many did not want me to record the story of the game although one or two thought that the score line flattered Tynedale…well (although it hurts me to say it) it didn’t…Park were well beaten by a side that played a high pressure game and we did not cope as well as many thought we would. Now before we all get despondent there was loads of bright spots coupled with some very talented young players and a wily management side that more than suggests that all will be well on Preston Avenue.
And on that heartening note, it was great to see a fair number of the Percy Park faithful in attendance, along with our Head Coach Lawrence Patten and Club Captain Jonny Dubois. A thoughtful conversation took place post game that centred around playing under pressure that will bear fruit in the future….because the Tynedale Raiders were not a great side and the first 15 minutes of that game they were all at sea and Park were in control.
From the kick-off Percy Park made inroads into the Tynedale pack, dragging the opposition ‘back line’ into the ruck before flinging the ball to the wide channels, where both Park wingers had the better of their men. And it was from this play that Ollie Gilmour picked a great line. With the Tynedale defence expecting a long ball to the outside channel they left a gaping gap for ‘The Gilmour’ to exploit. First blood to Park. With the conversion ‘out wide’ Fly Half Andrew Walker was unable to convert.
For the next 10 minutes Park continued to drag the defenders into the middle of the pitch before unleashing a very pacey back line. Then disaster struck. Playing a high line Tynedale intercepted a pass almost on the halfway line to score under the posts. With the try converted the score line was 7 to 5.
Dan Ward was having a fine game at hooker. Some barn storming runs saw good yards gained with good support. Unfortunatly the referee was quick to penalise the ruck area indicating that Park were going in from the side or off their feet. And it was from one such penalty that saw Tynedale increase their score. A series of ‘pick and goes’ had Park on the back foot and it was no big surprise when they went over to score. With the conversion missed, 12-5
With Park penalised for tackling in the air and Ollie Gilmour warned off the referee for some misdemeanour, the ‘black and white’s’ allowed Tynedale back in the game and in doing so gave them the space to play a quick off load game that had the Tyneside team reeling. At this point we really needed someone to ‘stick the ball up the jumper’ and take the sting out of the game. Losing Josh Lake to a shoulder injury did not help the cause and Tyne were over again. Another conversion saw the score rattle up to 19-5 followed by another score to take the game to 26-5.
Half time could not come quick enough and hoping the boys could hold out to regroup, a kick and chase saw the Park defence turned. A fine pick up saw the Tyne man over and Ethan Wilson off with a yellow. Half time 31-5.
As the game resumed we got more of the same. Former Park player Harry Snowdon (by far their best player) broke several tackles to score .Try converted 38-5.
I did mention there were positives… Andrew Walker was playing well encouraging his more senior colleagues to greater effort. Park stalwart Jimmy Baldwin showed real glimpses of what a good player he is; always looking to see where he could put his team on the front foot. Ethan Wilson put in some great tackles and then there was Parks back three. They were quick. If only we could get them the ball.
But it was to no avail. Park were guilty of some really petulant stuff with players kicking the ball away at the back of the Tynedale ruck. Arms were flung in the air and eventually the referee lost patience. This time it was Josh Hedley who received the warning.
A Tynedale line out created the next score. 45-5. At this point the Park coaching team collected the water bottles and were on the pitch galvanising their troops. And it worked. Reminding our players to drag in and play the width. And it was Andrew Walker who raised the supporters’ spirits with a fine individual effort. With echoes of Ollie Gilmour’s first half try Park dragged the ball into the midfield sucking in the fly half. With Joe Cassidy playing at scrum half a quick pass was delivered to Walker who was running onto the ball and into his opposite numbers channel. With a sharp side step he left the covering defender for dead and was over the line. With the conversion taken 45-12.
Hope abounded in the crowd. Then a wild pass. A failed lineout. Players bickering and a wild kick out of defence handed the advantage right back to the Tynedale side. From the line out the ball was in the middle and in the hands of a Tyne centre who made an audacious one handed pass over the head of his opposite number to put his colleague under the posts. A piece of fine individual play that was more often seen on a basketball court. Still his side were ahead 52-12.
Back to the coaching team. Play to the width. Drag them in. Parks back three were awesome. Once reminded they obliged again, this time the ball falling to Percy Parks fast and alert full back to score in the corner. With the conversion missed 52-17
However the last word fell to Tynedale. A misplaced Park pass gave the ball away and despite a great covering tackle from Kiran Sutherland Tyne scored the last try of the game. Final score 59-17. As the Park players trudged off the pitch the author was asked for the headline…instead of waiting for an answer a player was heard to say…’Well there’s always next week’ and there ‘sports fans was the headline!!.