North 1 East
York 30 – 25 Percy Park
Despite Park outscoring the hosts 4 tries to 3, York sealed the win to go top of North 1 East courtesy of a better kicking display and good game management taking penalty points when on offer.
The Clifton Park side be-decked in pink opened their account on 3 minutes with a penalty from Dawes after Percy Park were penalised for a high tackle, but Michael Groves cancelled out the advantage soon after.
Park played with largely the same squad that had won 36 – 3 the previous week at home to West Leeds, although influential Ash Smith was not available due to work commitments, which allowed Will Haskins to make his 1stXV debut at fly half.
On 18 minutes a well-worked move from a scrum saw Jamie Wrigley score in the corner but the conversion from wide out hit the post, as the score remained 3-8.
York hit back 7 minutes later when Ryan Gallacher was put in space down the left after cries of forward from the Percy Park faithful. The Belgian ref waved play on and the York wing showed his pace to race 30 yards popping the ball inside to scrum half Toby Atkin in support to score under the posts and with the Dawes extras, the home side took back the lead 10-8.
This was a very evenly poised game, and with York on the attack a spilled ball was retrieved by centre Seb Reece who raced 70 yards, the cover defence was gradually closing him down and an excellent try saving tackle on the 5 metre line denied Percy Park the score.
On the stroke of half time York were awarded a penalty that they kicked to add to their lead 13 – 8 at the break.
The home side started the second period with a bang as they turned over ball from a Park attack. Lively scrum half Toby Atkin evaded several tackles and jinked his way through a mass of players to come out the other end to score a fine individual try which was duly converted by fly half Liam Hesssay to extend the lead 20 – 8.
Percy Park had lost Jared Deacon with an ankle injury, which brought Phil Morse on at fly half and Will Haskins moved to 9. York kept the scoreboard ticking over with a penalty from the left foot of Hessay before Park hit back with a try by Michael Grove. With the conversion going wide the home side still led 23-18.
The visitors then had a sustained period of attack keeping the home side stand supporters quiet as several drives to the line by the black and white forwards were repelled by stout defence. An eventual knock on gave York a scrum on their own 5 metre line. At this point the ever-vociferous Phil Morse was heard to say they won’t run it from here – wrong! York did indeed decide to run with a pick up from the base of the scrum, a missed tackle allowed the York 6 to surge forward and after several inter-passes burly centre Gareth Singleton handed off the last tackler to go over in the corner somewhat against the run of play.
An excellent conversion stretched the lead for the Yorkshiremen and with only minutes to go they led 30 – 18.
Percy Park were determined not to come away from Clifton Park without something and kept pressure on the home side with lock Austin Phillips eventual finding a gap in the defence to cross the line. Michael Grove kicked the conversion as the final whistle sounded, and Park had taken a valuable 2 points away from home to keep them in the top half of the league, with a visit to Preston Avenue from Pocklington next week.