PARK PUT PENRITH TO THE SWORD
Last weekend turned out to be a great day for players and supporters as Park finally produced the performance they've been working all summer for.
Coming from an average display against Rochdale, and Penrith having recorded a 50 point victory over promotion favourites Bradford and Bingley, it was set to be a tough afternoon. Park found it tough going the year before at Penrith, having to defend for the majority of the game, and were prepared for another battle. Park had suffered in previous away matches with not 'waking up' until twenty minutes into the game, however that was never to be the case on this particular saturday after having a blowout 20 minutes away from Winter Park. Chris Tyms summed up everyones reaction by saying "I think I've sh*t my pants". Thanks to all the supporters who made their way to our rescue and got us to the game with enough time to spare.
So with a shortened warm up, Park were straight into the game. Fired up with some words of encouragement from captain and coaches, the team set about putting everything into practice from training. The forwards worked very hard to make some early territory and were rewarded with a penalty 5 minutes in which debutant, Jack Lavin, duly slotted. Park were feeling confident in attack and defence and could sense that things were working well. Park again put the pressure on in the Penrith 22, took control, worked the Penrith defence and made just enough space for Martin O'Keefe to score his second of the season (which he may of reminded everyone about after the game - I can't remember). Penrith were never going to lie down and characteristically spun the ball to the back line in an attempt to break the Park stonghold. They only came away with a penalty however, and Park were shortly afterward awarded their own to leave half time score 13-3.
A lapse in concentration defensively let Penrith back into the game. They pinned Park back in the 22 with a chip and chase and from resultant phase work, they crashed over the line for their only try of the game. Conversion was missed but Penrith were gaining confidence and Park conceded another penalty giving Penrith the opportunity to come within two points. Park rallied again however and started to show some of the dominance seen in the first half. Both teams went down to 14 due to sin bins, and further confusion was to follow as Penrith couldn't field an experienced front row, meaning they had to go down to 13 players. The home team began to look frustrated whilst Park were enjoying working the ball in the pack through good rucks and mauls. Going into the last minute of the game, Park were pushing to secure the tie. The ball spilled during a Park attack, however was not deemed to be knocked on. Penrith reacted slowly to the situation but Colin Campbell was on hand to punt the ball through and dive on the ball giving a welcome gap on the scoreboard. Penrith went looking to secure a losing bonus point but could not convert their last penalty chance. The final whistle went and the celebrations started! A great away win which we showed that we are capable when we put our minds to it.
Oh, and then we all went home for a quiet Saturday night.........