Northern vs Percy Park
1st XV - lost to Percy Park 22 - 48.
1st XV - lost to Percy Park 22 - 48. The game was not nearly as bad as the score indicates. Percy Park scored first with an early penalty, Northern equalised with a penalty from Kris Borthwick, Park scored a try to take the lead, Northern equalised with an interception try from Phil James, converted by Kris and the score was level until just before half time when PP made a long kick up field out of defence and a fortunate bounce let them in for a score. Northern scored first in the second half with a Chris Stewart try, converted by Kris to equalise the scores again, PP replied with another try only for Olly Walker to reply with a try for Northern. After 65 minutes the score was 22 - 22. However PP's fitness and injuries to Northern players took its toll and PP scored 4 tries in the last 15 minutes without reply.
Wanderers lost 9 - 31 to Hartlepool Rovers
THIS IS PERCY PARK'S MATCH REPORT
NORTHERN 22 – 48 PERCY PARK
Ali Blair's 1st of 3 triesSuperior fitness and forward power was the difference between the two sides as Park stepped up a gear in the last 10 minutes to move 5 points clear of Middlesbrough in 3rd place in North One East. The game was evenly poised on the hour mark at 22 - 22 before the visitors moved into over-drive with four tries in 14 minutes to bring Northern’s winning streak to an end.
Park were forced to make several changes after the win at Wheatley Hills, with Howard Stock, Liam Blackburn, David Griffiths and Simon Greetham all out with injuries. Northern too had players missing due to work or family commitments.
Phil Morse who came back into the side at full back after a long absence kicked Park’s opening points with a penalty on 2 minutes, before former Tynedale player Kris Borthwick brought Northern level. Park had the upper hand in the early exchanges, but there was little in it until Ali Blair crossed the line for Park’s opening try. Percy Park had a scrum inside the home side half and with the ball won, Kai Downey-Stevenson crashed the ball up into the heart of the Northern defence, the ball was quickly re-cycled as Greg Dixon powered ahead, quick ball again gave Ali Blair space wide on the right as he glided past the last defender stepping inside towards the posts to make the Phil Morse conversion a little easier. 3 – 10.
Borthwick had the chance to bring Northern closer with a relatively easy penalty, but the normally clinical left footed kicker was just off target.
Park were soon on the attack again and with the backs all up in the line, Phil James saw the opportunity to seize an interception and the right wing raced 60 metres to score. Borthwick’s conversion brought the sides level again.
It was then the McCracken Park side’s chance to exert pressure and the battered the Percy Park line for some minutes coming very close to scoring on a couple of occasions before a loose pass in the mid field was toe-ended by Ash Smith. Blair and Smith raced off up field to retrieve the ball which bounced on its end and into the hands of Ali who ran the 50 metres to the line to score under the posts. Phil Morse kicked the conversion as the whistle went for half time with Park 17 – 10 up.
Park had stretched referee Tony Parlett’s patience to the limit giving away a string of first half penalties, and 5 minutes into the second period, the yellow card was brandished to Craig Fidler for slowing down the Northern ball in the Park red zone. The numerical advantage gave Northern the edge seeing prop Chris Stewart go over from a catch and drive before Borthwick again levelled the scores with the 48th minute conversion.
Greg Dixon was replaced by Sean Williamson in the back row, and it was he, who gave the try scoring pass to Johnny Ward on the right wing to move Park back in front. Ash Smith made a telling breakAnother Ash Smith break before offloading to County Under 20 Sean Williamson. Quick hands put the Park wing in at the corner. The overnight rain had made conditions a little greasy underfoot and Phil Morse slipped as he attempted the conversion.
Once again Northern hit back and on the hour mark, full back Olly Walker scored a fine individual effort cutting through the Park defensive line and going in on the left hand corner. Borthwick was just off line with the conversion which would have put the home side in front for the first time. Scores were again level at 22 – 22.
As in the recent game against Cleckheaton, Park found another gear in the closing stages which Northern just couldn’t live with. Ash Smith was again involved in creating the next try as his delicate chip over the Northern defence, but him in space to retrieve the ball 10 metres out before off-loading to openside Jack Davidson in support, for the bonus point try which Phil Morse converted for a 69th minute 29 – 22 lead.
With 2 minutes of normal time remaining Park picked up the pace again and attacked the Northern line. Quick recycling saw Andy Dunn in space with a 3 man overlap on the left. As Phil James stepped in to try and intercept, the Park hooker threw a high wide pass which eluded the Northern wing and found prop Joe Wafer on the left wing, who went over for the touchdown. Phil Morse was on target as Park stretched the lead to 36 -22.
Northern were now waiting for the final whistle which didn’t come as Park notched 2 further injury time tries through Kai Downey-Stephenson and Ali Blair to win 48 – 22. Percy Park now need 5 points from their remaining two games to secure second spot and a chance to expunge the painful memory of last year’s playoff defeat to Burnage.
On Wednesday Percy Park are in action in the semi-final of the Northumberland Senior Cup at home to Alnwick, and return to League duties at home to Durham City on Saturday 14th April 2012.
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