SATURDAY’S game saw Percy Park unbeaten at home in the league while Kendal had not won on the road.
The script said an easy home win, but with Kendal leading 24-21 with less than ten minutes remaining, the black and whites avoided a potential banana skin.
But the last 12 months have shown a change in fortunes for the two sides. Last season, Percy Park were playing in the sixth tier while Kendal were in National League 2.
The game started with the strange sight of both sides playing in Percy Park kit as Kendal had not brought their amber change kit, resulting in a colour clash and having to use Park’s change strip of red and white shirts.
It was all Park in the opening exchanges, and when they were awarded a penalty outside the Kendal 22, skipper John Scott took a quick tap and ran in his first try of the season, which was converted by Ash Smith.
On the ten-minute mark after sustained pressure, Park crossed the try line again through Ben Bell.
Kendal scored from their first real foray into the Park 22, with Liam Hayton driving over for the try which was converted by full-back Chris Park.
Kendal then got their noses in front when Jason Poleman scored a well worked try, beating the Park defence wide on his right before stepping inside to score close to the posts.
The game was fairly evenly poised but on the stroke of half-time, centre Dan Lowther scored a try with Park converting for a 21-12 half-time lead.
Park had the wind and slope in the second half and picked up the pace.
Kendal were reduced to 14 men after one of their lock forwards was sin binned and Park capitalised with Liam Blackburn crossing the line in the left hand corner on 50 minutes.
Michael Langlands then scored his first try of the season with a strong finish to give Park a 22-21 lead.
This was short lived as Park slotted a penalty to restore the lead for the visitors.
Some astute changes to the home back line and an inspired substitution bringing on George Lewis transformed the game as Percy Park ran in four excellent tries in ten minutes.
Michael Stephenson moved to full-back, with Ali Blair moving to outside centre and Lewis slotting in at right wing.
But it was Blackburn who scored next for Park. Smith’s conversion took them ahead 29-24, with Kendal rarely touching the ball for the remainder of the game.
Blair scored with a minute of normal time left, before Lewis scored two quick tries.
On Saturday the 1st XV travel to Carrow Road to take on second placed Harrogate who relinquished top spot with a defeat to Chester who now overtake them at the top.
MIDDLESBROUGH WASPS 15
PERCY PARK LIONS 12
THE Lions had a free weekend with a bye in the Northumberland Cup, so they travelled to Acklam Park to take on Middlesbrough Wasps in a friendly, which they lost 15-12.
This weekend the Lions play Darlington Mowden Park at home in the Candy League.
PERCY PARK MARAUDERS 12
NOVOS CENTURIONS 14
THE Marauders lost narrowly 14-12 at home to Novos in a friendly.
BLYTH III 14
PERCY PARK PENGUINS 52
THE Percy Park veterans began their defence of the Northumberland cup with a first round win at Blyth III.
In the quarter-final they play Rockcliff Rangers at Lovaine Avenue on February 16.