Courage & Commitment in trying conditions
It was another home fixture, this time versus a strong Chester team, who brought their strongest 18 players and the format of the morning was going to be 4 x 15 minute quarters.
From the moment players arrived we saw smiles and laughter, was it that the Club Chairman had arrived to watch, or was it that 10 past Johnson is now renamed 20 past Johnson ?
No it was the new sub suits, what a great addition for the squad, rumour has it Mums are to place an order for more.
Quarter 1: With a very strong wind favouring Chester to start we kicked off and play was contained in Chester's half for the first 8 minutes or so. Some good tackling by both teams, but mixed in were some knock on's, and numerous infringements around the ruck, a little scrappy you might say. We were struggling to get numbers in the ruck and lost possession on too many occasions. The players were hesitant going in, something thankfully they addressed as the game went on. With me starting to think that try's we're going to hard to come by Chester scored from nothing with an intercept from inside their own half. Harrison went off with an injury after looking good in the first 10 minutes.
We then had to try to attack from our own line, with good teamwork and a penalty we inched up to halfway only for another intercept try to be scored by Chester! Kick off from deep into Chester territory and as they tried to run it out Lucas was alert to do an intercept of his own from close range, to bring the score back to 2-1 at the end off the first quarter.
Quarter 2: With the wind at their backs we kicked off and a knock on from the opposition full back gifted possession to Park 5 meters out, from the scrum Alvaro went close, then Archie went close, with pressure building and Chester committing lots of bodies into the ruck, space was created out wide with Harvey R beating 2 defenders to touch down. Against a strong wind Chester only got into our half once in this quarter and as they lost possession close to our line a strong kick from Joe R put Chester back on their own line and as they struggled to gain meters they lost the ball and after a number of short drives the ball went left again for Harvey R to dive over again, for what was almost a carbon copy of his first effort. This half ended with the Referee giving a stern warning to both sets of players to play to the whistle and cut the chat out with too many of them questioning decisions.
Quarter 3: We were playing into the wind, and with Alvaro, Lucas, Liam and Joe R all off together at one point it was going to be a tough half. Time for Freddie, was he ready? Of course he was as he made a number of tackles, but it was Chester in the ascendency as they looked to regain control of the game, despite some good work from Will and Thomas, cracks were appearing in the our defence as Chester scored 2 similar tries with one of their smaller players weaving his way though our defence. Credit goes to the whole Park team at this point as heads did not drop and with senior players Alvaro, Lucas and in particular Archie leading the way both in attack and defence we more than matched Chester for the remainder of this quarter, meaning we were only one score behind at 4-3 going into the last period of play, but they would have the wind behind them.
Last Quarter: All to play for and what excitement for the watching crowd! Luckily it was cold, gloves were being worn, so fingernails were not being bitten down to the knuckle!! The Chairman got through a packet of Benson & Hedges such was the drama as first Will attacked the blind side only to be hauled down just short then Joe BM was bundled into touch inches out. Tom then went close, pressure was building as we camped close to the Chester line, time and again we were close only for the ref to award possession to the defending team after an untidy ruck. As Chester attempted to run from deep, Millsy was successful with a brilliant one on one ball steal and supporting Lucas was on hand to take on the ball and score. 4- 4 and by now every Park player was on it, totally focused and wanting the ball. Great to see from the side line as pressure, pressure, pressure, was put on the Chester team who were once again on their own try line. Supporters from both teams were getting vocal, with encouragement to the players mixed with questioning the ref's decisions, with players warned about this earlier in the game, should Coaches be vocal questioning those decisions ? I'm not sure, but that was the passion being shown on the sideline. As the intensity grew, the encouragement got louder and from close range Tom N barged over the line to score, cue jubilant celebrations from the home support, I've not seem Rich Timson jump for joy so much since he found a pound on the car park !!!
5 minutes to go, Kick off from Park went dead in goal, scrum on halfway, Chester ball, time to tackle, ruck, tackle, ruck for all your worth team, and they did. Will L great tackling, Chester lost the ball, back to stand off Joe, long kick with the wind and the sideline support willed the team to chase hard. Liam, outstanding to get there and make the tackle as the Chester defence tried to regroup. We were by now deep deep into Fergie time. Once again Chester tried to attack with ball in hand from deep, only one try behind. The home support were willing there to be no more scores, but there was, it was Lucas again with the intercept, racing away from a despondent defence to score. Note to Lucas, The elaborate dive we saw earlier in the game might have been better done at this stage. Final score 6-4 to WP
[b]This was tremendous entertainment and thanks to ALL players from both teams for their effort, courage and commitment in trying conditions. If this was displayed every week we should be charging spectators to come and watch. Well done all Park players, too numerous to mention all names but everyone played their part this morning, the aim of team sport is to do you bit for the team, everyone this morning did that really well, especially in the last 2 quarters. [/b]
It was one of those mornings that the team could have shared the man of the match award, but the coaches got it spot on giving it to Archie - he worked so hard all over the pitch in defence and attack.
I'm now off to drop a heater into the shed of the head coach as I believe he's living in it this week lol !!