North One East
Kendal RUFC 21 v Percy Park RFC 15
No Mint cake for Park as they continue to bemuse.
In an even hard fought game, Percy Park came unstuck through two penalty decisions that went against. It is, perhaps, a bit ‘of a reach’ to suggest that Percy Park should have won this game, although the die-hard will adamantly argue that they should have done!!...With the score at 18 to 15 and Kendal tiring, Percy Park went ‘off their feet’ and gave away an easy shot at goal. A kick which was duly taken. 21-15 with time ebbing. Park, needing a converted try to win the game, battered the home line and Kendal were ‘taking the knee’. It was ‘on the ropes’ stuff and Kendal were flagging. Last play was called and Park were plugging away, dragging bodies in. A score looked very likely and in a favourable area to take the conversion. Then a ‘black and white’ shirt went flying in from the side taking the Kendal player out with some aplomb. The refs whistle was heard with a real shrill and the faithful groaned!!...Penalty…an unopposed kick that was tapped and booted high and long into the car park behind the posts…Game over; a finality that left players and supporters wondering ‘what should have been’…and to make matters worse for the travelling throng, a Kendal alikado enthusiastically described our home town and North East coastline as the best the country only for Tyneside flock to discover our host was talking about Whitby in Yorkshire!!...by now the forehead was definitely lying prostrate on the table in despair…so how did Kendal defeat our team and with what kind words did we, politely, pass to our Cumbrian friends to reveal the geographical location of North Shields?
The game commenced with Percy Park given a distinct wind advantage; as they kicked off playing right to left (although that fact is determined by the side the spectator stands on!!). Park were quickly into the Kendal half. The game went to the wrestle with a number of penalties called as each team sized each other up. The Kendal pack was bigger but we looked mobile. The omens were good. If we could run them around we had a good chance
Perhaps we should have kept those ‘feel good’ thoughts to ourselves as Ruairi ‘Rory’ Meharg took a quick tap moving the ball to Josh Hedley, who in turn got munched. A munching from which he didn’t really recover and Park’s performance started to stutter. Although Josh valiantly played on, putting in some good hits, he had to leave the field to be replaced by James Ponton.
Percy Park were guilty of not communicating and at times the forwards were unsure of where the backs were taking the ball. And when we did move the ball, Kendal appeared to read the play with some ease. Advantage was surrendered and had coach Lawrence Patton extoling his players to the ‘second effort’. They must have heard. The forwards took command and attracted Kendal to ‘step offside’, leaving fly half Toby Davison a shot at goal. Duly taken Park were three to the good.
Percy Park really should have ‘kicked on’ but somehow failed to ignite. Kendal, deep in Park territory were given a free ball as Park infringed trying to stop a ‘9’ ‘10’ break. As Kendal broke through the tackle in the ‘10 channel’ Park were at sixes and sevens. The penalty came as no surprise leaving fly half Weightman a kick at goal. 3-3 the score.
Park continued to infringe. On this occasion going offside. Weightman went to the line. A rather fortunate take at ‘4’ had Kendal spinning to the left and Park grasping for the ball. Kendal finishing the move just to the left of our posts. With the try converted Park were down 10-3.
The score brought Aaron Smith to the field replacing Mark Barry in the front row. Although the scrum stiffened, Parks penalty count kept rising and frustrations boiled over when Jake Smith was marched back ten for uttering some Geordie quip. Smith even took out his gum shield to say it!!
As the half came to the close, full back Ali Blair made a strong run. He found himself ‘one on one’ with his opposite number with an option to his left. Blair elected to hold onto the ball and offload from the floor to supporting players…… and from the collected ball Percy Park knocked on!!....In that moment the story of Percy Parks first half unfolded in front of our eyes. A point that Coach Patten seized on in his half time brief encouraging his players to cut out the silly mistakes.
10-3 at the turn…advantage Kendal.
Weightman at 10 for the home side was having an armchair ride and as the half commenced he continued to orchestrate his back line and move his pack beyond the gain line. One flowing move saw winger Blakely-Edwards bounce out of the tackle to score. Fortunately for Park other opportunities to run the ball were squandered as Weightman’s back line dropped or knocked on. Conversion missed 15-3.
Percy Park needed to respond. Gathering possession ‘the pack’ moved Park up field to the 22 with some astute close field work. Work that coaxed Kendal to lie on the ball. Instead of taking the points Park went to the scrum and the resulting move was eventually butchered by a knock on. Still it was encouraging.
Deep in Kendal territory Park kicked to the line. Possession went to a rolling maul that in due course ended in a heap with Park knocking on. Disappointing but the signs were, now, more than encouraging and we started to believe. At the resulting scrum Kendal infringed. Not sure what for but Aaron Smith was working his magic. Again Park elected to go to the line and on this occasion they got it spot on. With ball taken, Park went to the drive and over we went. Jake Smith being the player on top of the ball. Conversion taken. 15-10 and we were back in it.
Seb Reece saved the day as he got underneath Weightman as the Kendal player ghosted through the Park defence before diving for the line. It was a let off and we knew it. And we countered with style. In our 22 a Kendal player was stripped of the ball. A whipped pass through several hands had Michael Grove in space to dummy his opposite number and streak the length of the pitch to score a fantastic try. The conversion was in a good position. Alas the points were not taken.15 all…..Kendal heads were going down and the home crowd was turning against their team. This had to be the moment we turned the proverbial screw… instead we gifted them a penalty.18-15. Mind it was a great kick from Weightman.
The big hits were going in and Kendal were flagging. Two went down and one was off. Park went wide stretching the play….only to run out of room giving away possession. We just needed to come off the wing and get our runners into broken play. Kendal were happy in the midfield and their pack didn’t want to run around. It had to be advantage Park. We looked the fitter and more mobile side.
Then came the moment. With the ball in our half, and the game coming to its close, we went ‘off our feet’ giving away a penalty with a direct shot at goal. A ‘shot’ Weightman was not going to waste. 21-15. Weightman’s boot meant that we were a converted try away from the win and more importantly time was ebbing.
Kendal were tired and a high tackle on Ethan Wilson, that owed more to fatigue than any intent, gave Percy Park the line close to the 5 metre. Seconds were left. The Kendal players were receiving treatment for cramp. Many were on the knee. All we had to do was keep possession and move them around. We could still steal this game. The lineout went well. Park powered into the ruck. With numbers outside, Ruairi Meharg lined up his runners. We were on the move and the ball flew to the players left only for the referees whistle to pierce the air with a stomach dropping, thin piping screech!!.....All eyes flew to the referee… Park had moved the opposing player from the side. Penalty against. Last play. Ball out. Game lost.
Should have, would have if...…yet Kendal stuck at it and as they say ‘the score line doesn’t lie’ although …although…although…
At least ‘The Lions’ gave ‘reasons to be cheerful’ defeating a useful outfit from Novocastrians. Even if they nearly threw it away in the second half!!
Building on last week’s great victory at Consett the Lions came ripping out of the blocks and in their enthusiasm went behind to an early Novos penalty. Under astute leadership of Karl Thompson, Park steadied the ship. And the pack began to dominate.
Big performances from Eddie Saint, Captain Karl Thompson and Mark Sanderson provided great ball to allow a ‘rapid set of backs’ to cut loose. Five unanswered tries were run in by ‘Chaddas’ Chadwick (2), Mattie Boustead, Jimmy Baldwin and ‘that man’ Thompson. Four of which were converted by Andrew Walker to leave the Lions 33-3 up at the interval.
Then complacency set in. And Novos made Park pay. Scoring two converted tries to bring the score back to 33-17. Karl Thompson rallied his side and we again began to move the ball wide. Andrew Walker was ‘slide tackled’ as he was going to score on his own grubber and a penalty try was awarded. 40-17. Relief from the crowd (Stress watching Percy Park at any level appears to be a constant theme).
Park lost their ‘champion’ Eddie Saint to injury and in the doing Novos crept back into the game scoring two more converted tries. Both sides were tiring. 40-31 with 10 mins to go.
A break down the left from Park’s pacey backs saw Andrew Walker go over again to seal the victory at 45 points to 31.
The Lions have Middlesbrough Wasps away next week and the 1’s are at home to Huddersfield YMCA. Both games kick off at 3pm…Come on Park