NORTH 1 EAST
Percy Park 23 – 23 Scarborough
After the game, Park skipper Jonny Dubois announced that Park had 2 targets for the day, the first being to maintain the 1stXV 100% league wins home records for the season and the second to raise a decent amount for the Rock4Olly foundation. Park came close to doing both, and it was a 88th minute penalty that denied the win and allowed league leaders Scarborough a draw and 2 points. On the second point ably assisted by Percy Park Under 14’s a collection, raffle, donations and tee-shirt sales raised over £1000 for Rock4Olly.
Park warmed up sporting local rival colours red in support of young Olly Liddle. Olly recently lost his mother to cancer and tragically was then diagnosed with leukaemia himself. Despite losing part of his leg in the resulting treatment the Rockcliff Under 14 player shows great spirit and is fighting the disease with support from all the local rugby community.
Park welcomed back skipper Jonny Dubois from injury, and Ash Smith started at fly-half. An injury last week to Will Haskins ruled him out, which allowed Oli Gilmore to return at scrum half.
A heavy overnight downpour continued, making conditions difficult for handling but both sides contributed to a good display of rugby. It was the visitors who scored first when Park were penalised for a high tackle and fly half Thomas Ratcliffe wearing the number 13 shirt kicked the penalty for a 0-3 lead on 2 minutes. Park had the chance to level the scores but Ash Smith’s penalty attempt hit the post.
Park did go ahead through an Ali Blair try coming off his wing to score in the opposite corner, but the try remained unconverted. Scarborough showed their resilience and why they were league leaders hitting back with a converted try 5 minutes later to go back in front 5-10.
An Ash Smith penalty then another try from Blair restored the home side’s lead and the Ash Smith conversion took Park into the break 15-10 ahead.
The rain abated although the floodlights had been on from the start, and in the second period Scarborough cut the deficit with another Ratcliffe penalty after Park were adjudged off side.
Park had the ascendancy in the set piece and from the start the Scarborough scrum had appeared to be on castors as it slid backwards under the pressure of the black and white pack. Sterling work by Scarborough’s number 8 and man of the match Aaron Wilson tidied up lots of ball under real pressure at the back of the scrum. The East Yorkshire side were awarded a scrum just inside their own half on 65 minutes which Park drove backwards and Ethan Wilson picked up the losse ball and sped off down the blind side feeding left wing Michael Grove who dashed for the line to take Park ahead 20 -13. Unfortunately the conversion was missed.
With 10 minutes of normal time remaining Grove took Park further ahead with a penalty before the visitors came back with a try under the posts following a sublime inside pass by scrum half Jordan Wakenham put Aaron Wilson in for the score. The conversion took the game to 23 -20 and Park desperately tried to hold on to possession for the victory in the closing minutes.
Park’s discipline let them down with several penalties conceded before a kickable penalty was offered to the visitors straight in front of the posts. Rather than going for the win Scarborough elected to go for goal to at least secure the draw, but surprisingly the attempt hit the post and bounced out. The visitors retrieved the ball and continued their assault on the Park line until they were offered redemption and another pot at goal which this time was successful as the final whistle went.
Park have on several occasions in the past toppled the league leaders, as Chester and Sheffield will testify, and although Scarborough played their get out of jail free card and nicked 2 points, Huddersfield YMCA’s win takes them to the top of the table and Scabs move to second.
Next week Park travel to Cleckheaton, hoping they can break their on the road jinx and come aback to Preston Avenue with an away win.