PERCY PARK 73 – 3 WHITLEY BAY ROCKCLIFF
The annual Boxing Day encounter between Percy Park and Rockcliff is the oldest remaining fixture in both club’s itinerary, and this year the game was held at Preston Avenue in near perfect conditions for September let alone December 26th. The previous two games in 2010 and 2009 had been thwarted by frost and snow. Park made a few last minute changes with the unavailability of Marcus Rutter and Simon Greatham, but otherwise were able to field a full strength 1st XV.
Rockcliff kicked off with the wind behind them and were awarded a penalty within the first minute, but Josh Donnelly’s kick at goal was off target. The visitors had some decent early possession, but as the game wore on, Park’s dominance at the set piece starved them of any meaningful ball and the points began to rack up for the home side.
Park’s first score came on the seven minute mark from lively 19 year old open side Jack Davidson and the conversion by Ash Smith opened a 7 – 0 lead. Rockcliff came back five minutes later with a Donnelly penalty, and although the home side had more of the possession the Rockcliff defence held firm until on 27 minutes Andy Dunn crossed the whitewash finishing off a well executed catch and drive from a line out.
When the visitors were penalised for pulling down a maul, the ball was kicked to the corner and another catch and drive resulted in Park’s third try of the game this time from Greg Dixon. The conversion was off target but Park now led 17 -3. Even at this early stage Park’s superior organisation and fitness was beginning to show as Greg Dixon popped up on the left wing to finish off a good move started by an Ali Blair break in midfield. Sadly Ash Smith had left his kicking boots at home.