Park lose on the road again

  • Published on Sunday, 08 November 2009 17:02
  • Written by Scoop


Although the score line would suggest this was an emphatic defeat for Park, the game was still in the balance until the 70th minute, with an improved performance. Unfortunately Percy Park ran out of steam at the end and allowed a well drilled Sandal side to get on top with their impressive brand of 15 man rugby.

Sandal opened the scoring after 4 minutes with a penalty in front of the posts by fly half Greg Wood after Andy Dunn had been penalised for hands in the ruck. Marcus Rutter was on target to level the scores 2 minutes later after John Scott had made a break and chipped the defence only to be tripped on his way to the ball.


The game was evenly matched, although Sandal looked to run the ball at every opportunity with many plays involving their influential full back Tom Coad. In fact it was Coad who made a break down the left hand wing, and was stopped short by Marcus Rutter but there was a support player on hand to pick up the off load to go over the line, and with the conversion the home side led 10 – 3 on 15 minutes.


Park equalised with a try by Marcus Turner on the right wing, after the visitors won a line out inside the Sandal half. The ball was spun through the hands and Marcus Rutter coming into the line threaded a lovely kick through the oncoming defence. The ball bounced up and Turner retrieved, stepping inside the cover defence to score. Rutter kicked the conversion.


Percy Park had made a couple of positional changes to the back line, with Phil Morse moving from 10 to outside centre, and looking the better for it. Thomas Turnbull slotted back into the fly half position, and despite some rumbling in some circles about the change, it has to be said that the back line looked far more potent and ran the ball quite freely.


When Marcus Turner was clotheslined by one of the Sandal centres, the referee should have yellow carded the perpetrator at least, and the Sandal coach commented from the touch line that he couldn’t have really complained if he had been red carded. Instead a mild rebuke, then minutes later to the cries of inconsistency, Ian Elliot was sent to the bin for a far less innocuous tackle and Park were down to 14 men.


The visitors battled hard with a man down, and soon lost Liam Blackburn with a suspected dislocated elbow, which saw Mike Baker take to the field for the first time this season for the first team. With six minutes remaining in the half Sandal scored a try after some poor tackling in midfield and at the break the home side led 17 – 10.


Park had made many unforced errors and the tackling was not up to the usual standard expected by coach James Ponton. The second half opened ominously when Sandal broke through the defences again, but this time knocked on short of the line. Percy Park reduced the deficit with a penalty from Rutter four minutes into the half, and despite the error count had sufficient possession to punish the Wakefield side. Sandal however stretched their lead  when number 8 Sam Whittingham picked up from a wheeled scrum and charged down the flank offload to scrum half Max Whittingham in support to score. Wood converted to give the home side a 24 – 13 lead on 52 minutes.


David Griffiths was replaced by Olly Gilmore in the centre and on 67 minutes Park hit back with a try, after Fidler had nicked a Sandal line out. The ball was spun out to the backs with Rutter in the line giving a perfect inside pass to Anthony Dunn. The flanker was stopped short but offloaded to Gilmore in support and the young centre went over for the try. Unfortunately Rutter hit the post with his conversion attempt and the ball stayed out.


With the score at 24 – 18 Park were still well in the game. Michael Langlands, who was standing in as skipper for the injured Brett Sylph was leading by example and was constantly rallying his forwards for an extra effort, but in the final 10 minutes Sandal racked up 18 unanswered points with three fine team tries, the first coming in the 70th minutes with good handling and excellent support play by hooker Jamie Herron who got the final touch down.


Tries on 73 and then 77 minutes took the wind out of Park’s sails and the visitors again returned empty handed from a trip on the road. Next week undefeated league leaders Billingham visit Preston Avenue which will be a tough test of character for the boys in black and white.



Percy Park Youth Trust