AK fielded a strong side in their first home game of the season versus Birkenhead Park, who came into the fixture on the back of a 35-20 win against Northwich the previous week. Whilst important to carry AK’s unbeaten run at Stelfox through from last season, the game also carried extra weight as it was an agreed double header - to the winners both points in the league and a place in the final of the Cheshire Plate come the end of the season.
Kersal started the stronger of the two sides, notching up two early tries through Andrew McEntee and Andrew Dauncey, both of which converted. The pressure continued as AK tested a resolute Birkenhead defence both in the tight and out wide - pressure which was eventually converted in the form of a try from Paul Mallaband following a deft touch from Nathan Bailey to put him through a hole in the defensive line.
Birkenhead fought back well, running one in down the short side from 50 yards out to get themselves on the scoreboard before the half. Park continued well into the second half, carrying strongly and turning to a more expansive style of play. The gap was soon narrowed to only 2 points following a penalty and converted score from the visitors.
Maturity was required from AK to get themselves back into the game, and it duly came in the form of JP Singleton, who rolled back the years to dot down in the corner and restore a healthy lead at 24-17. Both sides continued to battle hard and AK were soon backs to the wall following the sin binning of debutant Tom Woods. Their resilience, however, was soon rewarded, with Micah Dyos pushing over to extend the lead to 31-17 with 5 to play. The game finished at 31-17 following some strongp work from the AK pack, with Andrew Dauncey being voted Man of the Match and earning a just reward, courtesy of Jon Dodd and our friends at The Parisian Bistro.