A clean sweep as Percy Park teams all win

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PERCY Park’s four sides completed a clean sweep of their fixtures on Saturday as they racked up 196 points between them compared to just 32 for their opponents.

The first XV continued their good run with a 42-17 win at West Hartlepool in the National League Three North, while the Lions dispatched an injury hit West Stags 76-7 at Preston Avenue.

The Pumas, on the road to Sunderland third team, won 41-8 while the Academy scored 38 unanswered points against Acklam Colts.

On a perfect dry and sunny day, the firsts travelled to Brinkburn to take on West, who the previous week had suffered a heavy defeat to league leaders Chester.

West were without a couple of key players due to illness and injury, and Park were without influential player coach Michael Stephenson who was away on business.

Park kicked off with the advantage of the slope and some assistance from a cross wind, although only minutes into the game they had to make adjustments to the back line with Ali Blair having to leave the field with a hamstring injury.

Ash Smith racked up three penalties to give his side a 9-0 in the first 26 minutes before West hit back with a try from short range from prop Adam Coates.

Both sides had their numbers reduced when Johnny Boatman for West then Joe Wafer for Park were sin binned for repeated infringements.

Park never really got into gear in the first 40 minutes and West’s robust play kept them from crossing the whitewash.

On the stroke of half-time, as Boatman returned to the field, Brett Sylph was sin binned so Park were down to 13 for a brief period, but they still managed to lead 9-5 at the break.

West started better in the second half and scored through hooker Andrew Rollins from a driving maul, with Heckles kicking the difficult conversion to take the lead.

With Sylph’s return to action the visitors brought on James Ponton and scored three unanswered tries in ten minutes.

Phil Morse, back in the first XV following a summer of cricket, was in the side for Stephenson and scored a well earned try as Park pressed the home team’s line.

A loose pass from Park resulted in losing 30 yards of territory before the pressure came on again and Morse hit the line, went through a gap in the defence beating the cover then stepping inside to avoid the last defender to go over. Smith added the conversion.

Park should have scored again soon after with Jack Davidson crossing the line, but play was halted for a forward pass close to the line.

Then the visitors won a lineout in the home 22 and John Scott’s long pass to Smith left the fly-half with a mis-match in midfield as he powered past lock Andrew Davies to score under the posts and with the conversion extend the lead to 21-12.

A poor restart gave Percy Park a scum on halfway and skipper Scott found his fly-half, who made a telling break before off-loading to Liam Blackburn who scored, although Smith relinquished his 100 per cent kicking record for the game.

The referee issued a flurry of yellows with Andrew Davies, then Scott for Park and Luke Watson all being carded inside the space of 11 minutes for a variety of technical offences.

West cut the deficit when scrum-half Andrew Foreman scored a trade-mark sniping try before having to leave the field with a groin strain.

With the clock ticking closer to full-time, Park knew they had to keep up the pressure and close the game out, and Adam Morton kicked three points from a scruffy looking drop goal which just cleared the cross bar.

Park were then awarded a penalty, and to the surprise of the supporters from both sides, opted for the kick rather than pressing for the fourth try and bonus point.

The three points gave Park a 34-17 lead on 80 minutes.

The West forwards looked tired and Park continued to press, and a good attack in the home team’s half set full-back Morse loose with a two-on-one, drawing the last player to put winger Howard Stock in for the try and all important bonus point seven minutes into injury time.

The successful conversion gave Park the 41-17 win and a maximum 15 league points from a possible 15 to stay second behind Chester who have a better points difference.

On Saturday Park play Lymm at home, kick-off 3pm.

PERCY PARK LIONS .... 76

WEST HARTLEPOOL STAGS .... 7

WITH several players being taken up to their 1st XV, West travelled with 15 players and were soon down on the scoreboard and at half time the Lions led 19-7.

In the second period Park cut loose and racked up a further 57 points putting last week’s disappointing loss to Mowden Park behind them.

When West were reduced to 14 players due to injury, skipper Thomas Turnbull sportingly offered his services to the opposition to ensure the game continued with 15-a-side.

SUNDERLAND III .... 8

PERCY PARK PUMAS .... 41

THE Pumas maintain top spot in the Northumberland River Blyth League with this win at Ashbrooke. Next week they entertain Gateshead IV, as the Marauders Park’s 4th XV get their season underway against Ponteland Pythons.

PERCY PARK ACADEMY ... 38

ACKLAM COLTS .... 0

THE Percy Park Under 18 squad played well to defeat their counterparts from Teesside. On Wednesday night they will face a tougher task as they take on Northumbria University Freshers under lights at Preston Avenue. Kick-off is 7.30pm.