North One East
Percy Park RFC 43 v Bridlington RUFC 0
'Park bounce back with scintillating win over Brid'
Following last week’s second half debacle away to Morley, Percy Park really needed to pull something out of the hat to settle the frayed nerves of the Percy Park faithful. And to their credit they came out of the traps like a wounded lion and truly bit a hopeful Bridlington in the haunches. It was a performance that had Coach Patton smiling and enthusing about his team “It was a great team performance built on strong defence. We were really focused on getting off the ‘D’ to win the gain line and that was very pleasing. Ash (Smith) and I want to our players to embody the principal of giving maximum effort when they play. If they do that they will be able to compete and when we compete that enables the team to celebrate. The hard job now is to replicate those principals on the road. We acknowledge that our home form is good however on the road it isn’t. To have the ability to compete at the top of the table we need to be a lot better than we have been”
From the start Percy Park showed intent by keeping Bridlington pinned in their half with some astute grubber and chip kicks followed by a quick chase. All Bridlington could do was attempt to recycle the bar and hammer the same down the lines. Yet the pressure was relentless with Park running the ball back with a vengeance. Only a marginal decision from the referee prevented Will Haskins from scoring when an earlier pass was adjudged to have been forward. And it didn’t take long for the Bridlington dam to burst. With Bridlington diving in from the side Park kicked the penalty to the corner. The catch and drive drove deep to the 5 metre line where Park knocked on. With an almighty heave Percy Park took Bridlington’s ball, allowing Ethan Wilson (playing at 8) to gather and dash over for the score. With Michael Grove converting. 7-0 to the home side.
Percy Park were playing a high line in defence making tackles on the gain line. Bridlington were in a vice like grip and had to kick the ball over the top in an attempt to turn the Park side. One such kick landed in the hands of full back Mattie Boustead, who used a straight arm hand off to propel himself down the pitch. A series of great interchanges had the versatile Jimmy Baldwin attempting a pass through the back door. Although the ball didn’t quite go to hand Will Haskins cleared up and in doing so released Leo Caulfield to score under the posts. Conversion taken .14-0
Park were running some really hard lines at the Bridlington defence and with recycled ball wing Ali Blair was popping up all over the pitch. Bridlington were hanging on. The ball that did come back to Park was easily dealt with by the very impressive Boustead. And it was his ability to get out of his 22 and put Park on the attack which really caught the eye. With Wilson and Caulfield offering support Park looked very mobile and it hurt Bridlington. A storming run from prop Michael Birkett saw his pass go to ground but in an act of self-less bravery he dived amongst the flying boots to gather the ball allowing Josh Hedley to carry the charge forward. Once at the line a long pass had the eager Phil Morse bolting over the white wash. Unfortunately the conversion was missed as the wind started to swirl around the Preston Avenue arena.
Bridlington were beginning to question and chip away at the referee, allowing their frustrations to creep into the travelling support who were becoming increasingly vocal. The Yorkshire side had some big units who tried to carry the ball but they could not get away from the strong Park defence. The Bridlington Australian import was being gobbled up every time he got the ball. Only a rash decision from Ali Blair to use his arms to come around the side and pick up the ball at the back of a Bridlington players heels gave ‘Brid’ any advantage as he was dispatched to the penalty box with a yellow card for 10. Even then Bridlington struggled to make the extra man count and breach the Percy Park wall. The Tyneside team quickly turning defence into attack when the opportunity allowed. 19-0 at the half.
From the restart Park moved the ball up the pitch and saw out the remaining minutes on the Blair card. Having said that Leo Caulfield was lucky to stay on the pitch having given away a number of penalties for being offside. Fortunately his last demeanour was on the half way line and not in the red zone. With parity restored the pattern of the game resumed. Park were quick all over the field and any mistake was punished. One long kick ahead was chased by Ethan Wilson. With the Bridlington player knocking on, as the marauding Wilson entered his comfort zone, the loose ball was snatched up creating broken play. A fast interchange of passes was brought to a halt by the referee’s whistle and arm indicating that the ball had been held up over the line. Park were in no mood to let the territorial advantage go away and from the resulting 5 metre scrum Seb Reece went over to score. Conversion taken 26-0
Bridlington were having a poor afternoon. Their restarts were well below standard with the ball not going 10 and as a consequence they gave advantage back to the North Shields side. It was relentless stuff. Only a wild ‘no arms’ tackle prevented Ali Blair from adding to the score. The only down side to Parks play was the number of penalties given away in advantageous positions. May be we were just too eager to impress but if we want to compete at the top those mistakes have to be ironed out. However the aggressive defence was good. Although we were giving away penalties it didn’t seem to matter as Park seemed to get the ball back almost immediately. And the stranglehold continued.
At this point all Bridlington could do was kick the ball away. And that tactic just fell into the hands of the very impressive Mattie Boustead who ran the ball straight back at them.
The Bridlington scrum and lineout was creaking and as a consequence the game took a lull as we had a number of restarts. What was needed was a little bit of magic to re energise the Preston Avenue support. Well the magic didn’t quite arrive but Caulfield popped up on the wing to finish a swift move well-orchestrated by scrum half Will Haskins. With Grove on the bench Will Haskins was promoted to kicking duties. Unfortunatlly he missed. 31-0 Park. Where was that little bit of magic dust? From the restart Bridlington put the kick high….only for Leo Caulfield to attack the ball and in a blink of an eye he was off with the Bridlington side following in his wake. The crowd were on their feet and the Park team were on his heels. I think all in the ground were a bit surprised because we don’t usually attack re starts in that way…never mind the attack was on!! With Michael Birkett in support the ball went to the ruck, a quick pass from Haskins took a fortuitous bounce before landing squarely in the hands of the advancing Ethan Wilson…after that it was all about Jimmy Baldwin. Baldwin gave us that little bit of sparkle. A great little dummy and sprint allowed Mattie Boustead to exploit the gap made and with a little spurt he was over the line and under the posts to score. This time Haskins didn’t miss. 38-0 Park
It was very apparent Bridlington, and their supporters wanted the afternoon to end. I knew how they felt we were there last week…however at this level you have to turn the screw and Park did just that. A Will Haskins break almost at the death saw Captain Jonny Dubois supporting….a pass to Haskins left was collected by Dubois to score in the corner. With the conversion missed the game came to a close. Park were victorious by 43 points to Nil.
There were a number of very impressive performances. Although many noted the assured performance of Jimmy Baldwin, who was playing in an unaccustomed position at fly half. The player distributed the ball well and on the day provided a perfect foil to the energetic Will Haskins at scrum half. We all know what a good player he is…all he did was prove it again!!
The burning question on the lips of the faithful is…can we create this kind of performance on the road? Against Bridlington we gave away too many penalties and as a consequence advantageous positions…that will hurt when we play better sides than we faced this Saturday….next week it’s a rest day for all to enjoy before the visit of Malton and Norton… where I hope we will be talking about another home win…Come on Park.
Our Development team the Pumas also had a good win, defeating Ponteland in a fiercely fought encounter by 37 points to 22. A result that also made up for a very disappointing away visit to Middlesbrough the previous week. No more said on that one!!