CLECKHEATON 6 – 24 PERCY PARK
Percy Park exorcised the ghost of last season’s home and away defeat by winning 24 – 6 in a good workman- like teamperformance against Cleckheaton who going into the game, were undefeated at home this season. Conditions were bright and dry, although the pitch was somewhat heavy underfoot, and the home side kicked off and immediately put Park under pressure. For the first 10 minutes Cleck had much of the play with some less than inspired kicking by Park failing to relieve the pressure from the home side, although the Park defence was up to the task.
Cleckheaton scored after 10 minutes with a penalty from the boot of fly half Iain Gordon. Park responded well from the restart putting the ball receiver under pressure and were awarded a penalty in front of the posts within a minute with Simon Greatham levelling the scores.
The Moorend side took back the lead on 17 minutes with another Gordon penalty, but this was to be their last score of the game as Park began to turn the screw and impose themselves on the game. When Park were awarded a penalty just inside the Cleckheaton half Simon Greatham opted for the kick at goal but the long range effort was short of the target.
Park took the lead on 26 minutes with a quality try by Ali Blair playing on the right wing. The ball was won in the line out and played off the top with centre David Griffiths crashing through the heart of the home defence. The recycled ball found Ali Blair who weaved his way through the defence before being stopped inside the home 22. Park retained possession with Aaron Smith on debut being stopped just short before the ball was spun out left to find Ali Blair again who broke through two tackles and stretched for the line for the try. Greatham converted and Park were in front 10 – 6.
Park came straight back at Cleckheaton from the restart and were on the score sheet again within 5 minutes with Craig Fidler crossing the line after both Smith brothers Ash and Aaron were involved in the play. With the conversion by Simon Greatham on target the visitors were beginning to open a healthy lead. Before the break, Cleck had a penalty chance but the kick went wide. Man of the match Andy Dunn was also stopped short of the try line on one of his many charging runs of the day, but the score remained 17 – 6 at the break.
Not long into the second half player coach James Ponton had to leave the field which allowed Sean Williamson to enter the fray. Park had Cleck under the cosh now, and the home side had to put in tackle after tackle to keep the visitors from crossing the line. The kicking which in the first quarter had been aimless was now bang on target and a long raking kick by Phil Morse put the Cleckheaton back 3 in all sorts of problems clearing to just outside the 22 for a Park line out. The ball was won cleanly and moved left across the field then back right with Ash Smith coming into the line from full back being stopped short of the try line. The play had reached almost 20 phases before Andy Dunn took a well time pass from a ruck to barge his way through the defence and over the line for an excellent team try. Greatham was again on target to take the score to 24 – 6.
Park were now looking for the bonus point try and threw everything at the home side, who to their credit defended resolutely. Andy Dunn came closest with another bullocking run but lost his footing as he looked to emulate his previous score.
With this win Park open up a gap between themselves and 5th placed Sheffield who won against Middlesbrough, but the three sides above have more bonus points and there is a 9 point difference between Billingham at the top and Park in 4th.Next week Park have a tough game at home to second placed Wheatley Hills.
PERCY PARK LIONS 32 – 12 WESTOE II
The Lions had a good win at home to Westoe moving them up a place in the Candy Division 1 league. There were tries by Thomas Turnbull, Stevie Irvin (2) Johnny Gould, Ian Bradley and Matty Robson and a conversion by Irvin.
NORTH SHIELDS ARTISANS v PERCY PARK PUMAS
Sadly this game suffered from cancellitis with Shields phoning up at the 11th hour saying they only had 12 players. Despite the offer to lend them players, Shields declined by which time it was not possible to pick up a rearranged fixture and there were 18 disappointed Park players.
ALNWICK LIONS 27 – 7 PERCY PARK MARAUDERS
An under strength Marauders team travelled to Alnwick and lost 27 – 7. Next week the Pumas and Marauders play each other in the Northumberland River Blyth League.
PERCY PARK ACADEMY 15 – 3 MORPETH
The Academy made up for last week’s cup defeat at the hands of Gosforth with a win at home against Morpeth Colts.
Next week Percy Park Penguins are in cup action away to Ashington III as some of the Park veterans dust off their gum shields and remove their mud caked boots from the rusty nail in the garage.
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